A Mysterious Incident from Jesus’ Childhood

by jimmyakin

in Bible, Bible History, History, Liturgical Year, Liturgy, Mary

Mary and Joseph knew the agony of having a missing child. What are we to make of this mysterious incident, and what does it tell us about Jesus' future?

This Sunday we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Family.

What was it like for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to live together?

Each is a very remarkable person! Put all three together and . . . wow.

Today we have reality shows about interesting and extraordinary families, but they didn’t have reality shows back then.

Fortunately, we are given a glimpse into the domestic life of the Holy Family.

And it’s a glimpse provided by the Virgin Mary herself . . .


Missing Child!

This episode in the life of the Holy Family begins on a holiday: specifically, the feast of Passover.

Luke records that the Holy Family went up to Jerusalem each year for the feast of Passover, apparently in a company of “their kinsfolk and acquaintances,” and when Jesus was twelve, he stayed behind in Jerusalem.

Joseph and Mary did not realize this until they had already gone “a day’s journey” back to Nazareth, at which point they realized he was not with the company.

They thus began to experience the agony and anxiety of parents who discover their child is missing.

And note the foreshadowing: Was there ever another time in Jesus life, at Passover, in Jerusalem, when Mary would be deprived of Jesus?


“On the Third Day”

Joseph and Mary thus return to Jerusalem and “after three days” find him.

The three days, in this case, are apparently:

  • the first day spent journeying from Jerusalem,
  • a second day spend journeying back to Jerusalem,
  • and the third day (or part of a third day) searching for him in Jerusalem.

Again, note the foreshadowing: The three days echo the three days (or, more precisely, parts of three days) that Jesus spent in the tomb, during which Mary and the disciples were deprived of Jesus’ presence but then found him again “on the third day” (cf. Lk. 9:22).


Why Weren’t They Monitoring Jesus More Closely?


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