Good morning, happy Saturday, and many blessings.
Today’s gospel (Luke 2:41-51) is a story about growing up but it is not Jesus’ growing up. It is about Mary and Joseph growing up. It is about you and me growing up. Growing up is not about how old we are. It is really about moving into deeper and more authentic relationships with God, our world, each other, and ourselves.
We could say that in this story Jesus was supposedly lost and Maria and Jose went out to look for him. Where do they find it? In the temple. In other words, Jesus is lost inside the temple. All this makes me think about how many times I lost Jesus inside the temple and met him again inside the temple.
Looking upon Jesus and seeing her baby, Mary asks, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” And Jesus answers, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” These same questions face us this week after Christmas, as peace and goodwill fade and Christmas leaves so many of us wanting. With Mary, we ask, “Why have you treated us like this?” We ask ourselves; we ask our families. We ask the church and we ask God, when our expectations are shattered.
And Jesus answers, “Why were you searching for me?” We know where Jesus has gone. He’s about his Father’s business. But we aren’t ready to let go of our expectations and give our Jesus to God. We are not ready to accept that Jesus did not come to fulfill our expectations. He is not to be found in sentiment for the way things used to be or the way we wish things could be. Jesus is about the future.
Growing up spiritually involves leaving our comfort zone, letting go of what is safe and familiar, and moving to a bigger place, to the Father’s place. This letting go is a necessary detachment if we are to grow in the love and likeness of Christ. It means we must leave our own little homes. We all live in many different homes. Homes of fear, anger, and prejudice. Homes of grief and sorrow. Homes in which we have been told or convinced that we don’t matter, that we are not enough, unacceptable, or unlovable. Homes in which we have been or continue to be hurt or wounded. Homes in which we have hurt or wounded another. Homes of indifference and apathy. Homes of sin and guilt. Homes of gossip, envy, pride.
Every one of us could name the different homes in which we live, homes that keep our life small, our visions narrow, and our world empty. The problem is that sometimes we have become too comfortable in these homes. They are not our true homes. They are not the home God offers us. We may have to pass through them, but we do not have to stay there.
Jesus says that there is not only another home for us but invites, guides, and grows us up into that home. So, I wonder what are the little homes in which you live? How have they bound up your life, stifled your growth, and kept you from the Father’s home? What might you have to leave behind in order to grow up and move to a better place? Those can be hard questions, painful questions. Ultimately, however, they are questions founded on love.