The finding of Jesus in the temple
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - December 26, 2015 - 9:00am

It’s the first Sunday after Christmas Day and Catholic tradition marks today as the Feast of the Holy Family. God himself allowed his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the third person in the Holy Trinity and humbled himself to become an ordinary man, just like us, except for one very vital and important thing, which was prophesied in Isaiah that he would be born from a virgin and holy mother.

This is one of the great mysteries of Christianity when one can ask how can a mother remain a virgin? This in itself is an enigma. But then the Bible is replete with stories of impossible things. For instance in Genesis, Sarah who was already old and barren when an angel promised Abraham that he would have descendants more numerous than the stars in the heavens.

Sarah laughed at the idea because she was already very old and her husband Abraham was already ninety-nine years old. This is why Sarah arranged for Abraham to lay down with his Egyptian slave, which he did and he sired a son, Ishmael. But God was true to his promise and later Sarah gave birth to her son Isaac. Then there is the story of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist who too sired him through his mother Elizabeth who was already in her old age and was also barren. All these were prophesied including the birth of Samson. Today’s gospel comes from Luke 2: 41-52 and it is about the Finding of Jesus in the Temple.

“41 Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, 42 and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. 43 After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.

44 Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them asking them questions, 47 and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”

49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you now know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. 51 He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 and Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”


In today’s gospel story, the parents of our Lord Jesus Christ found themselves in anguish when after the Passover Feast that they celebrated in Jerusalem; they went back with the caravan to return to Nazareth where they lived. But they somehow did not realize that the boy Jesus was no longer with them with the caravan. They had lost him and three days after a frantic search in Jerusalem, they found him in the temple amidst the teachers of the law, who were astonished at the wisdom of the boy Jesus.

Today’s gospel story is the precursor of what is to come for our Lord Jesus Christ when after his gruesome crucifixion, he lays in a borrowed tomb and on the third day, he rose from the dead. He prophesied this before his disciples many times. In one story the Lord Jesus was inside the temple where he made cords and whipped the vendors and the moneychangers for making a market out of his Father’s temple.

When the Jews questioned him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then scoffed at Jesus for it had taken 46-years to build the temple and he says that he would raise it up in three days? Of course the Jews did not know that Jesus was talking about the temple of his body, which he would raise three days after he is crucified.

But after Easter Sunday, when his disciples saw that the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ was empty… and he later appeared before his disciples inside the locked door of the upper room, they remembered what he told them in the temple. So back again to the temple when the parents of our Lord Jesus found him and asked him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”

Then the boy Jesus told them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you now know that I must be in my Father’s house?” This is the last passage of the young boy Jesus Christ who returned to Nazareth where they lived as the Holy Family, which are the hidden years of our Lord Jesus Christ. Someday we will all know what went on during those hidden years. We Catholics must treasure our families for they are important to the salvation of mankind. If God gave us the Holy Family, then we too must help preserve the family unit.


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