So this day, March 19th is the official feast day of Saint Joseph. Linked in the family line of King David, Joseph was simply a carpenter from a small Galilean town. Such a small unimportant town in Galilee that it was used as the butt of jokes. Nothing good came from there. What a tiny, insignificant place…Nazareth.
If that weren’t enough, he was simply a carpenter. He was poor and not well respected. But if you read the scriptures where he is brought up, he is referred to as a good and faithful man. Always did the right thing. It seemed that he always did what was best for his family and what was asked of him by God. Not always making the easy decisions. So if you look at him, many would say he was a good man, a good father…
So the Gospel reading for today comes to us from Luke 2:41-52. It is the story of Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem. For me it is a pretty entertaining story that shows the whole family. And the father of that family, Joseph. This story is great because it shows that this was a real family. It was not perfect. They were human. Just like us.
So each year they would all head to festival of the Passover which took place in Jerusalem. In this particular story, Jesus is twelve years old. After the festival is over, all the people who came from Nazareth gather and begin to head home.
Mary and Joseph stop and look around…”Uh oh, Where’s Jesus?”
They search and search but he is not there. They go back to Jerusalem and search. For THREE days he is missing! Jesus’ parents lost him for 3 days!!!
When they finally find him, just imagine how frantic Mary and Joseph were when they find him!
Where have you been?! We were frantic!
Here we have Mary and Joseph, a little bit flustered after, oh losing their child for 3 days because he ran off…
And what does Jesus respond? This small 12 year old boy. You know how they are…so with this sweet innocent, know-it-all voice, imagine Jesus’ response, “Did you not know I must be in my Father’s house”
Whoa. Check the attitude almost teenager Jesus. Am I right?
So now we have flustered parents and a snappy teenager. Now if you ask me, this sounds like a very perfectly portrayed real life, human family.
Imagine how Joseph felt at those words too! Twelve years of raising him, taking care of him, treating as his son, then this…
This was a turning point for this family. Mary and Joseph had to let Jesus be Jesus. They had to let go of whatever it was they wanted from him. Had to stop trying to get him to fit into whatever mold they wanted…and let him be who he is.
Something we also try to do. We try to take Jesus and force him to be whoever we want or need him to be depending on our lives. Sooner or later we find ourselves asking questions too.
We are asking ourselves, “Uh oh, Where is Jesus?”
We can search and search and search but all in the wrong places. Where is he?
“Didn’t you know I must be in my Father’s house?”
Like Mary and Joseph were confused by this response, sometimes so are we.
This was the beginning of when Mary and Joseph fully started understanding who Jesus was and who he would become, and why he was here.
He says “…I must…” he is revealing his purpose is to do the will of God, his father. Our Father.
How often do we try to want Jesus to fit into our agenda and our plans? We want to put a leash on him and have him walk around with us. But that is not who He is.
Jesus is here to do God’s will and he asks us to join him in this journey.
Now as Lent is coming close to an end is a great time to reflect on this. Are we still asking “Where are you Jesus?” Are we looking in the right places? Are we looking at all?
“Did you not know I must be in my Father’s house?”
O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.