Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Journey of Love and Faith

By Colleen O’Sullivan
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.   (Luke 2:41-51a)

O Lord, may I always be faithful to your leading as was Joseph.

After Mary and Joseph finally located Jesus in the temple, I can imagine Joseph praying something like this:  O Lord, I thank you with all my heart for leading us to the temple.  I have been sick with worry for days, not knowing what happened to Jesus.  He is such a precious gift to Mary and me.  I know I didn’t think so at first.  I have always wished I could take back some of the things I said to Mary when she told me she was with child.  I had a vision of our life together in our village, having children, raising a family, me passing on my carpentry skills to my sons.  When she told me her news, I could practically hear that dream shattering.  It was only later that I remembered the rest of what she said about the visit from the angel.  At first, that only made me angrier.  All I could see was that she had been unfaithful to me and then tried to cover it up with a wild story about the Holy Spirit being responsible.

I am sorry now that I ever doubted her or even for an instant considered divorcing her.  I am so grateful to you, Lord, for sending your angel to me in that dream, telling me that everything Mary said was true.  I changed my mind and took her into my home as my wife and have never regretted it.  My life would be so much poorer without her and Jesus.

He belongs to you, but I have done my best to be a good father to Jesus.  I know he is special.  That has been obvious from the moment of his conception.  I could scarcely take in what the shepherds reported when they came to see him as a newborn.  I’m still not sure what either Simeon or Anna were talking about when we presented him in the Temple.  I have no idea why magi from the east would seek him out or why Herod would want to kill him.  But I know there is something extraordinary about this child.  I have taught him all I know, but he has surpassed me in learning.  The things he comes up with and the questions he asks!

Above all, thank you, Lord, for leading me on this journey of love, a journey I might have walked away from were it not for you. This has been so much better than any dream I ever had for my life.  Thank you for entrusting your son to my care.  May I ever be your faithful servant.

We all have dreams and hopes for our lives.  When has God ever asked you to put aside your plans and set before you a different path?  What was your response?

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