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Gospel reflection

December 30, 2012: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Stained glass window of Nativity (St. Mary’s Church, built 1875-1899)

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. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. 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.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man. (Luke 2:41-52)

Think of last week’s gospel–we met Jesus there when he was still in his mother’s womb. He is now 12 years old–and he is getting quite grown-up! In fact, he has stayed behind when he and his parents were on their way home, and went to the temple to talk with the teachers there. When his mother and father discovered that he was not in the crowd of relatives they were traveling with, they hurried back to Jerusalem to find him. Imagine their surprise to see him, not listening to the teachers, but teaching them!


Think for some time today, perhaps when you crawl into bed, about Jesus’ actions today. He stayed behind when his parents left, and didn’t tell them that he was doing that. And he sat with the persons whom he had always listened to when he was a little boy and sat among his teachers, not only listening to them but asking them questions that showed that he understood all they were saying. When his parents found him and said they wanted to take him home, he obediently said yes, and went with them back to Nazareth. We can learn so much from Jesus about how and when to obey.

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Sister Jeanne Knoerle

Sister Jeanne Knoerle was a Sister of Providence for 64 years. She taught for many years at schools in Illinois, Indiana, and Washington, D.C. and was the president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College from 1968 to 1983. Sister Jeanne passed away in June 2013. Read Sister Jeanne’s Obituary here.

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