Luke 2:41-51 NIV    

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.  After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.  Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I had to be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he was saying to them.  Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.  But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

The Bible tells us that Jesus grew up in a religious family, making yearly trips to Jerusalem honoring the history and traditions of his faith. I believe that God often whispered to Jesus in his childhood. At 12, the whispers became so loud that Jesus knew he must spend time in the temple. His family responsibilities took second place to his desire to listen, ask questions and learn in his Father’s house. When his parents found him, Jesus was deeply involved in the temple discussions and unaware of any turmoil he had caused his family. Jesus listened to God.

As a mother, I understand Mary’s fear when they could not find their son. I relate to their frantic three-day search and empathize with their feelings as Jesus put his Father’s house before his earthly family’s concerns.

Living involves situations that pit one desire against another, and making good decisions is sometimes difficult. I want Jesus to be my example and guide, but I am torn in many different directions – family, church, vocation, friends, helping others, leisure – that I sometimes cannot respond.

My Lenten journey, calls me to silence my agenda and focus on God’s message to me. I take time to listen to the Holy Spirit’s whispers. I sink deeper into God’s presence and meditate on Jesus’s example of living each day in his Father’s house. My responsibility is to live where God has planted me, knowing I can use my skills and compassion to express His concern for others. My goal is to practice His presence each day.

It is my choice to listen and respond to the whispers or to ignore and follow my “own” path. Jesus listened and responded all the way to the cross.  Can I listen for guidance as I face each new day?

Prayer: Lord, there is much I do not understand, but I trust. There is pain and sadness all around the world, but with you I find joy. Help me to be like Jesus, giving, accepting, grateful and strong in your presence. Amen.


Paula Rugen

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