A Reflection on the Readings for the
Feast of the Holy Family
I left hurried. Have you ever felt that panic begin to creep at the edge of your perception, like some long lost evil trying to barge it's way into your field of vision? Yeah, there he was. I tamped him down. She's on the bus. I knew it. Why? I don't know. She wasn't supposed to be. So I raced as fast as traffic would let me to the bus stop. I called my wife. I told her what was going on. She panicked. She began to demand answers over the phone, answers I could not give. I will call you back after I find out something. So there I sat. And sat. And sat. And sat.
The bus was very late. Someone had fallen and gotten hurt, the son of a friend of ours. An ambulance had come. I heard it in the distance. That didn't help. 10 minutes passed. Finally the bus came down the street. It still had to make it's rounds through the other sub division before coming back to us to drop off the kids. I guess it being late does not change the route any, or even get the driver to explain to the parents why they are late. So she ran to the car and got in like nothing had happened. She began asking where the baby was. The baby only stays with us on Wednesdays. She rides the bus on Wednesday. That explains everything.
That didn't dismiss the feelings right? The panic. The fear. The what ifs. The first thing I did when she got in the car of course was demand to know why she rode the bus. I think one of our first reactions to panic is anger, once we know they are safe. It's hard to deal with. Maybe half an hour had passed total. 10 of it waiting in a car unable to do anything. It's almost like grief isn't it? Like you've lost someone? Once before years ago she had gone under a display in Kohl's and we couldn't find her. It doesn't get easier. It gets harder. Both times it was like losing her for ever. Tears wanted to break in. All of the emotions of grief. Denial. Anger. Yes, just like losing someone forever.
Imagine Mary and Joseph... they were three entire days without Jesus. Some theologians think that this was to prepare her for the tomb at Easter. Three days she sought him, three days she could not find him. Travelling backwards along their route looking for family and friends. "Have you seen him?" "Do you know where he is?" Demanding answers that none of them could give. They didn't have a phone to call back later to explain. It simply meant continuing to look. Not giving up. Not letting fear and panic set in and take over. The relief they must have felt finding him in the temple, yet the same kind of angry reaction: “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” "Moira why were you on the bus? You know I was supposed to pick you up! Your mother and I were worried sick!"
Mo's answer was much like Jesus answer, "I thought it was Wednesday, you should have known I was on the bus." "Why were you looking for me? You should have known where I was." It's incredulous to them that we would worry, that we wouldn't know exactly where they were supposed to be. Jesus was the Son of God, but it did not occur to them immediately that he would be at the temple. Like Mary though, we have to take these things into our hearts. What can we learn from this?
Mary was prepared by the different events in her life for things to come. Three days without Jesus as a child. Three days without Jesus at his death. The first time she went running, panicked, in fear, retracing her steps trying to find him. Notice at his death she waited behind. She didn't need to go find him.. though he had died... she knew exactly where he would be. She didn't lose him. She still had him in her heart. Some say he even visited her first before the rest of the Apostles. Maybe. Either way.. she had faith. She knew she would find him again.. in his Father's house.
Sometimes the events in our lives make us scared. They panic us. They make us lose sight of Jesus. We see someone pass away and we wonder why. We see someone in pain, and we ask why good people suffer. Some cross comes into our own world.. and we have no idea why we were chosen to carry it. He never moves away from us.. it's always us that move away from him. Like Mary, we must learn where Jesus is... that he is always there. He is in our family. He is in our friends. He is in our church. Most importantly, he is in the Eucharist... turn to him.. find him in his father's house... anytime you lose him, he is sacramentally present and desires your return. Let him speak directly to your heart as he says to each of us: "Why were you looking for me? You should have known where I was."
His servant and yours,