Holy Family (Note & Bulletin)

This Sunday’s Gospel tells us the story of the Holy Family’s visit to the temple in Jerusalem.  It says that Jesus, only 12 years of age, remained behind to speak with the scribes and the teachers in the temple.  What we see is how Jesus was so focused on God’s word, God’s teaching and God’s kingdom.  It doesn’t matter to him that he had failed to tell Mary and Joseph where he was.  He was consumed by the things of God rather than human concerns.  Such focus and desire, especially from a 12 year old, seems so foreign and distant from us.  When I was 12 years old my hockey team had just won the Halifax City Championship.  My focus was on hockey and being able to have my slap shot raise the puck.  Not overly profound.  In our own lives today we may think of concerns of jobs, finances, relationships, normal anxieties and many other things.  It becomes hard for us to relate to that singleness of focus on God that the boy Jesus reveals.

It does no good for us to get up in the morning and say, “Today I’m going to focus on God.”  I know for me this focus leaves me after I take the first five steps.  Focusing on God is not a discipline, nor is it an intellectual activity.  Rather it is a response.  It is a response to the revelation of God in our lives.  When I try to focus on God, I do not do so because someone has said I ought to, or I need to, or I must.  I try to do it because I want to do it.  In the Second Reading, St. John writes, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.”  The peace and joy of the Christian is the knowledge in our heart that we are the beloved sons and daughters of God.  It is true that we sometimes do or say the wrong things, that we sin, but it is even more true that we always remain the children of the Father – that God is always father and we are always the beloved children.  And ‘always’ means that it can never change.  

The focus of the boy Jesus in the temple was not his discipline or an intellectual intention.  He was in awe of the beauty of God, he was overwhelmed by the love of God.  In a similar way, as we seek to focus on God, we do so as a response.  We respond to the beauty of being God’s beloved children.  We respond to the compassion and mercy of God.  We respond to the fidelity of God. And, we respond to the love of God.  The love of God is becoming our home.  The psalmist’s words become our own:  “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!  My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for the living God.”

God Bless and Take Care!

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