Meditation on Finding Jesus in the Temple

Richard Salbato

Before Each Hail Mary

1. Jesus grew in the personal experience of having a human body, feeling pain, suffering and all the things the human senses experience. His divinity was strong in determination, but His humanity had all the fears and suffering of any child. He thought and spoke from His divine wisdom, but felt like any human child.

2. Every year the custom of the Jews was to go to the feast of the Pasch. When Christ was 12 years of age, the Holy Family went to Jerusalem with all their extended family to attend the feast. Most all the other Jews in Nazareth and surrounding towns went also.

3. After the feast days were over, Joseph traveled back with friends and Mary traveled back with Her relatives. Joseph thought Jesus was with Mary, and Mary thought Jesus was with Joseph. After a day they sought him out among their kinsfolk but he was not there.

4. Joseph and Mary returned to Jerusalem but did not find him until the third day of searching. By then both Joseph and Mary were totally distraught. Joseph silently grieved that he failed as the Messiah's protector. Mary searched her heart to figure out what She might have done to make her son angry at Her, and what She might have done wrong.

5. Jesus was now ready to begin his public ministry. It was time to fulfill His destiny. He went to the Temple and began arguing and teaching the High Priests and doctors of the Church who always congregated at the Temple on the feast days. It can probably be assumed that the teacher of Saul was there, the great Pharisee, Gamaliel, a doctor of the law. It could be that Saul was there also.

6. Jesus asked the doctors pointed questions and when they answered incorrectly, He would say, then why do the Scriptures say this or that? It was time to teach, convert, and then die, for this was the reason He came into the world. He was longing to get on with saving humanity.

7. Mary and Joseph were not allowed into the inner rooms of the Temple, but they heard that Jesus was there and sent for him. “Son, why have you done this to us? You see that your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow.” Joseph was weeping in the distance and afraid to come close because he felt that he had let Jesus down.  Speaking from His divinity, Jesus said:

        “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

8. The next passage is very strange. Luke 2:51 He went away with them and was subject (obedient) to them.

9. What does this mean, “He was subject to them?” What did they ask of Him? He is God, so what did He have to obey? We will find that answer in the mystery of the Marriage Feast of Cana. For now we have to think about the fact that the 12 year old Jesus wants to go about His Heavenly Father’s business, but He doesn't. He waits another 18 years. Why?

10. The divinity of Christ was ready to show Himself to the world and die for our sins at the age of twelve. Instead, He remained obedient to His earthly Mother and father. Imagine that Mary said to Him: “Son, do not go about Your Father’s business yet. I am not ready." Of course, She knew She would lose Him when He did, and that He would die a cruel death. She held on to Him as long a She could, all the time knowing His future....and Hers.