Search and Recovery
The Holy Family
December 27, 2015
While in high school, I worked in a grocery store, not daily…but almost…and especially on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, when the store was especially crowded. And there was the crackle of the sound system interrupting business as the cheerful voice of the manager announced: “Attention, shoppers. We have a little lost boy named Jimmy (or girl named Sally) here in the office…would the mother please come a get him/her?” And with that, everyone would turn and look as some frantic young mom came running to the front of the store. By that time, the child was usually crying. It seemed to me that the younger the child, the faster the mother hurried to the office, in tears as well, or darn close. And then we “spectators” would witness the reunion that typically began with hugs, more tears, often ending with a scolding. There would be a collective AHHH, and then people would go back to what they had been doing.
The Last Joyful Mystery, Finding Jesus in the Temple, reported in this Sunday’s Gospel, must resonate in a special way with parents. At some time or another, most parents have suffered the pain, anxiety, fear, shame…all of the emotions that go with losing or being separated from their child. On this Sunday after Christmas, we are reminded of Jesus’s human nature and the fact that God elected to have the Christ-child raised within a normal, human family, experiencing the fullness of family life…even the joy of reunion and the “scolding” that follows getting lost.
But Mary and Joseph experienced much, much more than all that comes from being separated from a child. At the time of the incident, Jesus was 12 years old. The parents had already stood wide-eyed as heavenly messengers explained to them that this gift from God was no ordinary child. They had over a decade to reflect on the truth that God’s Eternal Word was sleeping under their roof, sitting in their laps, looking to them for comfort when He skinned a knee, eating at their table…growing into a God/Man before their very eyes. For three entire days, they had not only lost their much loved child…but they had lost the Savior of all humankind.
When pondering this Joyful Mystery, we can easily tap into the extraordinary relief Mary and Joseph felt at the reunion, so much so that we risk losing sight of the setting…the location. The frantic parents did not respond to an announcement to come to the manager’s office. They were not called by police to the local precinct where they found Jesus wearing one of the officers’ hats and eating ice cream. It was in God’s House where Jesus was found. And what surprised The Child was not the sudden appearance of frantic parents, but that they would think Him lost in the first place. “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
Lots of people today are living a life of “search and recovery.” Compounding all of the angst they are experiencing is the sad fact that they don’t even know Who it is they’ve lost…or Who it is they are searching for…or that it is God’s Eternal Word they are desperate to recover. Moreover, they are looking in all of the wrong places. This is where people of faith come in. We need to make the announcement: There is a lost Child in our churches! Would you please come and get Him!
For those wise enough to listen, the reunion will be joyful beyond our imagination. Christ the Savior is born! People of good will need proclaim this Good News so that those who are lost can be found…and those who are searching know where to look.
Every Blessing to you during this Christmas Season!