Monday, March 19, 2018

St. Joseph's Feast

Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety." He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor. Luke 2:41-52

Being a parent is a daily gift and a daily challenge. When our children are young we try to keep them safe and teach them. They often get beyond our eyesight and get into dangerous places, no matter how careful we have been. As our children grow to maturity, they grow into themselves, full of ideas, attitudes and  terrifying habits. We can no longer hold them close, yet we ache to wrap them in our arms and keep them from themselves. I have always been grateful for and blessed by my daughters. They have also taught me about prayer and humility.

Joseph finds himself as a parent to this child of great promise, who is both a mystery and well known to him. As a parent he is constantly struggling to give enough freedom and boundaries all at the same time. He did not desire to be a parent and was called into places he never wanted to go. And yet for the love of this child and for love of God, he joyfully and fearfully accepts this call. That doesn't mean his life is easy. This young boy tests the limits of his patience and capacity. We are invited by God to rejoice in the children in our care while understanding we will never get "it" exactly right. Love is the gift we have received and give freely, even when we are pressed beyond our capacity and understanding, for God goes with us to these hardest places.

Today, I ask God to help me live my life in prayer and humility, giving thanks at all times for the amazing children and regular challenges I have been given. May we give love freely, despite all of the challenges we face,  trusting that God is with us in all of the hardest moments when we feel elast able to cope.

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