Yes indeed, this was truly the holiest of families, but they were also living in a struggling, sinful world. From the moment of Jesus' conception, there were obstacles this family would face: Mary's "apparent" infidelity which could have very surely resulted in both her's and the Child's death had Joseph not been the kind, humble, God~fearing man that he was. Then this young couple had to flee to Egypt with a newborn in order to save His life.
Then we come to the event that is the subject of today's Gospel~the finding of the 12 year old Jesus in the Temple among the doctors and teachers of the time. In the eyes of this young Mother and father, a child missing for 3 days! When they finally find Him, they ask why He has done this. He seemed surprised that they would be looking for Him. Jesus' reply seemed logical enough for Him, but was one His Mother and probably Joseph would need to ponder awhile in order to understand.
I like the Douay~Rheims translation of Jesus's reply:
"And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father's business? And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them."About His Father's business, doing His Father's will.
I think that this is where the message lies for families today. Our world today is a sinful, struggling place. It is the job of Christian families to imitate the Holy family, beginning with the parents who are to pass on and teach the faith to their children so that when the time comes, they like Jesus, can be about their Heavenly Father's business.
Once again I find myself in a very precarious position in writing this because I am not a parent. However as an educator for the last 24 years I have been witness to some parents who do not know how or refuse to see that their children are a gift from God, that they are God's children before they are theirs. The results are that the children are dictated to: You will go to that college, receive this or that degree, and become what I want you to become. They never see or help their children to see what God's will for them is.
While Mary and Joseph may not have readily understood their Son's reply, they did understand one important thing, that God is in control and has a plan for each of His children.
As I listened to Father's homily and thought more about this Gospel reading, I realized what my prayer intention for this coming year is to be; it will be to pray for all families. I pray especially for parents that they will do as Hannah did with Samuel, and consecrate their children to God so that these children will be able to discern God's plan for them, and then be about His business.
May God bless all families and heal those where division and estrangement exist.