Finding Jesus in the Temple and In Our Lives

As we continue the reflections upon lessons we can draw from the life of Blessed Mary, we come to the finding of the child Jesus in the Temple, which we also celebrate as the fifth joyful mystery of the rosary. As described in the Gospel of Luke, the Holy Family attended Passover every year in Jerusalem, as was custom for pious Jews. When on such pilgrimages, men and women travelled in different caravans, which then joined together in the evening; young boys travelled with their mothers, while older boys travelled with the men. When Jesus was twelve, His parents left Jerusalem after the Passover, but He stayed behind, listening to the teachers and asking them questions.

When they set out, Mary and Joseph both thought that He was in the other caravan, and only discovered the mistake in the evening. They rushed back to Jerusalem and discovered Jesus in the Temple, astonishing the scholars by His understanding. Jesus seemed puzzled that His parents did not understand that He had to remain in the Temple this time. Mary pondered over these things as Jesus returned with them. He obeyed His parents and “grew in wisdom, stature and favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52.

From this poignant event we can draw several lessons about humility. First, if even Mary and Joseph were surprised at the way in which Jesus prepared for His ministry, we also should expect to be surprised by the ways in which God works in our lives. Planning is important, but we should also be willing to adapt our ideas to new situations and realize that disappointments are often God’s way of pointing us in new directions. And if even Mary and Joseph continued learning from Jesus, we should be constantly pondering over His plans for us. From the standpoint of Jesus, we recognize that even He grew in wisdom in His human nature, learning from His parents and the scholars of the Temple.

Learning new things can involve struggles, but Jesus joins us in the effort. And if even He obeyed His parents, surely we should see obedience to rightful authority, not as a burden, but as an opportunity to be open to the will of God. In all ways, humility of heart makes us more able to grow into the people whom God wants us to be, rather than being limited to our plans and expectations.