This year on the Feast of the Holy
Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the gospel is from Luke 2:41-52. It is the
story of the finding of the child, Jesus, in the temple. Two times Jesus
traveled to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover and did not leave after wards:
At the age of twelve; and, twenty one years later at the age of thirty three,
when he offered himself as the Passover Lamb for our salvation on the cross.
At the age of twelve Jesus remained
behind in Jerusalem and after three days his parents found him in the temple.
Jesus was at "home" in the temple. He had stayed behind on purpose. It was a
choice he made on his own. Upon finding him his parents discovered that
"Jesus has another Father and that His "house" and "work" have already laid
claim to Jesus' heart" (Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and
Proclaimers of the Word. 2016. Graziano Marcheschi, p. 36). They learned
that his heavenly Father has a stronger claim upon him then they do. Hence,
the words of Jesus, "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's
In our English language, the word,
must, is defined as 'to be obliged, required by morality; to be compelled;
absolutely required; indispensable'. There is no doubt about this: Jesus was
a driven human being, led by an extraordinarily strong, irresistible desire to
please the Father out of love!--to the extent of "Zeal for your house will
consume me" (Psalm 69:10) During his public ministry Jesus used this same
word, must, to describe his destiny in Jerusalem:
"From that time on, Jesus began to
show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from
the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third
day be raised" (Mt. 16:21).
"So must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:14-15).
We have an
expression in our English language, "it's a must". We use this phrase when
exhorting someone to experience some event or place that we already have. It is
often spoken with an air of an 'absolute requirement' that will thrill or
satisfy them. Doing the Father's will was 'a must' for Jesus: "My food
is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34).
During his public ministry Jesus used
this word, must, in reference to the Father's will and work set for him: "My
Father is at work until now, so I am at work" (John 5:17); and, "I
glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do"
(John 17:4). This work is Jesus' dying on the cross for the salvation of souls.
Jesus identified so strongly with the Father, His will and work to the extent
that the words, "I must be in my Fathers' house" became more, "I am my
Father's house" (see John 2:17) in reference to his unique humanity, holy
priesthood and expiation for our sins.
There is great need today to
rediscover the "must" of our faith, living as we do in an age of growing
"attitudinal minimalism" in regard to religion. For example, for many Catholics
today the "must" of Sunday Eucharist has atrophied into "maybe/maybe not". For
many, "must" has become "mush"! There is urgent need to experience the Heart of
Jesus that "houses" his foundational "must thrust" in relation to the Father.
There can be no authentic holiness in our lives without a sharing in this
"must" imperative of Jesus. It's time to 'blow the dust off our must', 'scrape
the rust off our must'. It's 'must or bust'!
1)How deeply embedded in my life and lifestyle
is the "must" of Jesus?
my relationship with God have a stronger claim and influence upon my life than
that of my own family?
Any scripture from the text; John 2:13-16; 2 Cr. 6:16;
IN THE BREACH ON THE FIRING LINE"
"THIS WEEK'S BURNING ISSUES" ON
we must be a praying Church: Am I praying for our Church and our world?