Today’s Gospel: John 2:41-52
Every parent or guardian can relate to the fear Mary and Joseph feel as they search frantically for their missing 12-year-old son. I myself once lost Quincy in a Target when he was a toddler and all but collapsed on the spot. Mary and Joseph endure this dread for four days. Four days before they learn that the kid has been in the temple the whole time, debating about the number of angels that can stand on the end of a pin. So how does the boy wonder answer for himself? Does he apologize and pledge “never again” to his loving parents? As if! “Why were you searching for me?” he sniffs. “Did you not know that I must be in my father’s house?” I want to wring his holy neck!
Biblical scholars agree that this boyhood narrative is a response to questions that arose after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Who was Jesus as a child? When did he acquire his preternatural powers—at his birth or at his baptism? Luke shows us that Jesus possessed a cosmic awareness at an early age; the first time Jesus speaks, he declares God as his true father. What I find interesting is that Jesus must have been obedient to his parents and concealed his divinity for the next 18 years, because when he returns to Nazareth after his baptism, his neighbors are puzzled and indignant when Joseph’s son dares to school them in their own synagogue. (To say the least: they attempt to run him off a cliff!)
Still, this passage does remind us that truth-tellers, prophets and agitators come in all sizes and ages. Who would have thought that teenagers could upend the gun-control debate and create a narrative that our elected representatives and even the NRA cannot control? In the last month, our notion of what it means to speak truth to power has acquired new meaning. These phenomenally poised teens are schooling us, and instead of patronizing them or writing them off, we’d better listen and take heed. For out of the mouth of babes…
Just for today, help me, God, to remember to be kind and patient to the people who love me, and to those who work with me too. Teach me to see all the beauty that I so often ignore, and to listen to the silent longing of my own soul. Just for today, God, help me to embrace this new day filled with untold potential, that I have the capacity to bring something wholly new and unique and good into this world.
Just for today, help me, to remember that I can do anything! Amen.
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