Luke 2:41-51A Reflection: Jesus in the Temple

A reading from the gospel according to Luke 2:41-51A

41 Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
42 and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom.
43 After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.
44 Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
45 but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions,
47 and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.
48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
50 But they did not understand what he said to them.
51A He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.

Reflection: Obedience

The gospel passage above tells us about the lost and finding of the child Jesus in Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph were pious Jews. They followed every custom and tradition of their religion. They were obedient to the laws of Moses. The same passage tells us that Jesus was obedient to them as His parents.

In the Old Testament, the disobedience of Adam and Eve led to banishment from paradise and eventually to their death. In the New Testament, the obedience of the Holy Family to the will of the Father made possible the salvation of this world.

The need to be obedient to God can never be overemphasized. To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22) and rebellion is like the sin of divination (1 Sam. 15:23). The bible gives us direct commands to obey such as the Ten Commandments and the exhortations of Jesus and apostles. In the absence thereof, the Holy Spirit will tell us what to do (Luke 12:12, Romans 8:26).

The gospel reading tells us that Mary and Joseph did not understand what Jesus told them but they trusted in Him just the same. In own life, there are many things we do not understand. Let us continue to trust in Him and be obedient to His words.


As members of the family of God, we are responsible for one another. We are all parents to one another. May we be like Mary and Joseph who will go and search for the lost members of our family and lead them back to Jesus.


Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has a special place in the plan of salvation. The gospel of Luke tells us that she had found favor with God (Luke 1:30) and that she was blessed among women (Luke 1:42). Yet, the same gospel insinuates that Mary did not understand everything but that she pondered everything in her heart.

Mary is of course a human being. She is not a deity. Therefore we can relate to her in a way that we can use her spirituality as a model. We too have many things that look unclear and many times they bother us. We often ask why things happen the way they do and not the way we like or the way we have planned. Mary shows us the way to deal with them – accept these events in our life and keep them in our heart, meaning, we ponder or meditate on them and ask God for guidance.

The heart is our spiritual eye. In the small book “The Little Prince”, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote about a fox telling the little prince that “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the naked eye.” We could assume that since Mary pondered the events in her life and in the life of her Son Jesus, things were made clearer to her.

Let us use our heart to deepen our relationship with God. Let us have time to meditate. When we are puzzled and troubled by events in the world, let us look deeply into our heart and there we might see the message of God. If not, God is calling us to trust in Him.

For further reflection, go here.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection


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