As the mother of a 12-year-old boy, I cannot read this Gospel without projecting myself into the scene. I picture my husband and myself delighted that our 12-year-old son could run around with cousins and friends on the journey, happy for a break from the constant requests for more food. Our delight would turn to concern when he didn’t come back for dinner, and then panic, as we struggled with the reality that our son was just gone.
The 12-year-old child is independent and capable of deep questions and complicated thought but still unable to consistently remember to take out the trash. Because Jesus was fully man and fully God, we can assume He was fully 12-year-old-boy, too. As such, His emerging self was becoming more and more clear to those who knew Him.
Just as my son daily shows me more of his true self, this Gospel shows us the first picture of Jesus as Teacher. Rabbi. When Mary and Joseph find Jesus, He isn’t engaged in a spitting contest with His buddies; He is revealing His true nature as Lord. And He is just twelve.
When discovered by his parents, Jesus responds like many kids His age would: “Did you not know?” And then He does what so many 12-year-olds struggle with—He is obedient to His parents. God didn’t just humble Himself once, when He came to earth in the form of a baby. Jesus humbled Himself over and over as again as He grew into the man who would ultimately die on the Cross for you and me. And that is one of the aspects of Jesus as Man that I want to emulate day after day.
He diminished His role as teacher to take up His role as Son. As Lord and Savior, He was still obedient and humble. What steps do I need to take each day to humble myself? How can I gently help my loved ones grow in humility? What roles should I diminish that I may grow in holiness? Let's all think on these for our lives, sisters.
Have you done one of our Blessed Conversations studies on the Mysteries of the Rosary? Meditate on the finding of Jesus in the temple as you pray a decade today.
Dr. MaryRuth Hackett is the host of the podcast Parenting Smarts. She loves historical fiction, dark chocolate, watching her children play soccer, a good cup of coffee (decaf please) and the quiet of the early morning. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and has a passion for helping parents understand the way their children grow and develop. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: Leader Guide found here.