Saturday, June 20, 2009

In My Father’s House

June 20, 2009

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

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?” Luke 2:48-49


“Just a Closer Walk with Thee”

Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

I am weak, but Thou art strong, Jesus, keep me from all wrong, I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Through this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more, Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom's shore, to Thy shore.


Some parents may have been accidentally separated from a child who got lost in a big department store, shopping mall, or park. Frantic minutes tick by until a reunion occurs. Having had those anxious moments both as a lost child and then as a separated parent, I know the anxiety of minutes.

Joseph and Mary had days of worry. Their son intentionally stayed behind in Jerusalem when they set out to return home to Nazareth. With this episode, Luke leaves behind the story of the infant narrative and starts to teach about Jesus leaving behind his human family for his divine family, leaving behind his human vocation for his divine vocation.

Imagine how frustrated the Holy Parents were with the reaction that they encountered with Jesus. I can almost hear Mary sitting around the dinner table years later, after the Crucifixion, telling the apostles about the day she “almost” lost Jesus.

If she kept this short heartbreak welled up inside of her immaculate heart, how much more she kept inside on Good Friday afternoon as her son’s human life was taken from him. Did she think she lost his love forever? Did she know what promise fulfilled the next three days would hold?

In these days of ordinary times, we are reminded again and again of the obedience and humility that Jesus exemplified. We are given example after example for us to follow as we try to live our lives according to the rules “of God” and not the expectations “of humanity.” What is revealed in this very first episode beyond the infant narrative is the aim of Jesus’ entire life: a return to the father. But those closest to Jesus did not realize it at the time.

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. Luke 2:50-51

The Last Supper discourse that Jesus delivered touched on communion and dwelling with him and the Father. Today, we can see this theme established in Luke. First, Jesus came into this world to be with us. He first had to live in the house with Mary and Joseph. Then, as he moved on to the next phase of life and ministry, he had to get closer to his heavenly Father.


Jesus’ lesson for us today is to show how his whole life was oriented toward God. How do we live communion with the Father and with each other?

Too many times, we are consumed by advertising. It is on our hats and t-shirts, our bumper stickers and magazines. Everything is packaging which may inform us but also creates in us false desires that assume owning a Nikon makes us great photographers, owning a Ford makes us a great driver and owning a Sony makes us a great entertainer.

Ignore the demands that advertising places before you today and seek out Christian desire in what you do today. Only then will we stop trying to get closer to your “Calvins” and really get closer to your Lord. Only then will you be able to say “Nothing comes between me and my Lord.”