Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Scripture scholars tell us that the stories of Jesus’ birth and the events surrounding them, can be seen as “the Gospel in miniature.” Matthew and Luke have structured these stories so as to anticipate some of their Gospel themes.
Today’s familiar story of Jesus in the temple is a transition between Luke’s infancy stories and the rest of his Gospel. In this charming tale of a lost child, parents desperately searching for him, and the conclusion in the temple, we find some key themes Luke will use later.
The temple itself is a favorite setting for Luke. He’s already pictured Zechariah, and Mary and Joseph there, and now he brings Jesus to the temple. Luke’s Gospel will conclude with the disciples of Jesus in the temple, praising God.
Mary and Joseph are on a journey to Jerusalem—foreshadowing a similar journey Jesus and his disciples will make. And perhaps most importantly, Jesus’ first words describe the urgency he has to be “in my Father’s house.” The business of the Kingdom has begun, and Jesus must be about it.
In the midst of our Christmas celebrations, we’re reminded that there is “the rest of the story,” which will culminate in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the birth of the Church. Along with Mary and Joseph and all who follow him, we have begun the journey.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
What does the first reading (Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14) tell us about God’s plan for Mothers and Fathers? Why do they have authority over their children?
What is the promise to those who respect and take care of their parents when they are old?
What does this week’s second reading (Col 3:12-17) tell us to do? (hint: put on compassion, etc.)
What does this reading telling us about family relationships? Husbands to wives, wives to husbands, children to parents?
According to the Gospel (Luke 2:41-52), why did Joseph and Mary and Jesus all go to Jerusalem?
How did Joseph and Mary lose Jesus?
What answer did Jesus give to Mary? Was Jesus disobedient?
Try to forgive someone who has wronged you. You can either let that person know that you forgive him or her, or you can just offer the forgiveness within your heart.
Plan a day trip with your family to explore your hometown.