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the finding of the jesus in the temple reflection

The finding of the Jesus in the temple reflection is one of the most important events in the life of Christ, because it shows us how he grew up as a child and how he understood what his father was trying to teach him.

The gospel of Luke tells us that when Jesus was twelve years old, he went with his parents to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. When they returned home, Mary and Joseph noticed that their son was missing. They began looking for him, but could not find him anywhere. They finally found Jesus sitting in the temple among the teachers listening to them and asking questions.

Jesus’ parents were surprised when they saw him there because they had left him behind in Jerusalem while they went back home. They asked him why he had not come with them on their journey back home from Jerusalem where they had gone together with other pilgrims to celebrate Passover together. Jesus answered that he had remained in Jerusalem because his father told him: “My son, do not be afraid; go out into the world and preach my gospel.” (Luke 2:49).

Churchgist will give you all you ask on the agony of jesus in the garden, finding in the temple and so much more.

the finding of the jesus in the temple reflection

This week we contemplate the losing and finding of a 12-year-old Jesus.

In Jerusalem for Passover, Mary and Joseph leave the holy city assuming Jesus is with them. After a day’s travel they return to Jerusalem when they cannot find him. There has been a misunderstanding. Three days later they find Jesus sitting in the Temple listening to teachers and asking questions.

Shocked, they cry ‘why have you treated us so?’ Jesus replies that he must be in his ‘father’s house.’ Eventually Jesus listens to his parents, and returns with them to Nazareth. Mary treasures ‘all these things in her heart’.

  1. Jesus is eventually found in ‘his father’s house’, and states it as if it is the place for him to be. Where is your place in the world – the place where you would want to be found by people looking for you?
  2. Even at 12, Jesus knew his role in the world was to be a teacher. What roles do you have in the world? How has your understanding of your roles developed over the years?
  3. What does it feel like to lose someone we love? Might God feel the same way about us when we lose our faith? What joy might be born when we find God again?
  4. As with all parents, Mary and Joseph could see in the Temple that the time would come when Jesus would need to leave their care and find his place in the world. How do we balance our desire to protect our children with the need to prepare them for that time?
  5. Mary ‘treasured all these things in her heart’. What does it mean that we can treasure both the good and bad events in our lives in our hearts?


Peter Fleming is a teacher at Loyola Senior High School Mt Druitt in Sydney, a regular writer for Australian Catholics magazine, and the author of The Unexpected Light: Reflections from a Year of Mercy and other books. He is also a parent – and reflects on what it’s like to lose track of a child.

Children love hide-and-seek, and the pleasure of not being located for a while is, paradoxically, immediately surpassed by the joy of finally being found.

Recently, in a Philippines hotel room, my son Christopher could not be found, and when all the usual places had been searched, panic struck: had he tried previously undiscovered laundry chute, or made his way onto a window ledge? A parent’s imagination quickly races to the unthinkable. He was found, to his giggling delight, on the very top shelf of a high and tottering cupboard, tucked so tight as to be practically invisible. Relief and chastisement followed in equal amounts.

Even a momentarily lost child grips the heart and tears the mind. When she was two-and-a-half years old, my niece went missing from a crowded party. Her mother and father each thought the other had been keeping an eye

on her but with so many people, natural confusion had been the enemy. She was gone for 30 terrifying minutes, near unguarded train lines and a backyard pool, unfenced, before the police reported her found: a good neighbour had seen the child wandering, taken charge and called the local station. Her rediscovery was a glimpse of heaven.

Jesus, as the Creed reminds us, was begotten; and he was incarnated; but it is in Luke’s gospel account of the Fifth Joyful Mystery that we see his earthly parents being reminded that he was not only a child to be found, but a child who would always remain, to a significant degree, a sort of foundling: never only their own. He tells his father and mother that he has been independently attending to his father’s business, and in his father’s house.

In our simplicity we are aggravated by the story: how could the Genius of Love put his parents through the awful agony of disappearing for three days? Mary must have thought he was dead.

We of course see the symbolism, and literary analysts sniff the foreshadowing, but this was no symbolic or literary experience for Mary and Joseph – it was a parent’s worst nightmare. Did they sleep those intervening nights?

Did they at times mutually accuse? Did Mary doubt the promises of Gabriel? Did Joseph question his own initial bravery, 12 years prior, of going through with the marriage in the first place?

‘Child, why have you treated us like this?’ Mary remonstrated, and again, our faith of ages causes aggravation: how could the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, have so misunderstood her son?

Because she, and He, were not first and foremost literary figures, and she was not living her life in the retrospect of history; Mary was living her life, as everyone does, forwards; and not even the most blessed will completely comprehend the mind of God at every stage.

But Jesus may well have been beginning to exercise his own heightened sense of the dramatic and the historic. He wanted to be found in the Temple, and in his 12th year, on the cusp of manhood. He wanted the act to be read, later, not as mere, wild, youthful assertion of independence; no; there is always method in his sanity.

The Gospel writer, Luke, depicts the experiences of Jesus, his father and mother with immediacy and authenticity: the panic; the raw emotion when he was rediscovered; the irony, that the teachers are being taught by the tyke; the confusion.

But ultimately, Luke delivers the joy, so simply, so beautifully: ‘His mother treasured all these things in her heart.’

All these things. The fear. The relief. The revelation among the teachers of her Son’s future glory.

The first taste of loss.

The mystery.

finding in the temple

When Jesus was twelve years old, in the eyes of the Law considered a man, he attended the Temple with His parents. His parents thought He was with them in the caravan, visiting friends or relatives. Women were placed in the center of the caravan; men and boys in the front of the back to protect the women. It was not until the end of the day that Mary and Joseph sought Jesus among their relatives and could not find him. Since they could not find him, they returned to Jerusalem in an agony of heart to search for their beloved Son.

On the third day with growing anxiety, they came to God’s Temple to tell Him their sorrow and to plead for His mercy. Hardly had they returned to the Temple when they heard His voice, and God revealed to them the Child they had so diligently searched for all these worried days. Loving Mother that she is, Mary knew that her Son had good reason for his actions, but she was overcome with the pain of her emotions. Mary asked: “Son, why hast thou done so to us?” These words were forced from her by pain at the absence of her Son, Whom she loved above all things, and not by indignation, for He was blameless.

Christ was not unsympathetic to His parent’s grief. He knew what they had suffered for three days, yet he had remained in Jerusalem because of His love of prayer and communion with His Heavenly Father. He also showed them, even then, some rays of His divinity, by which to make known that He had come for the glory of His Father, and to procure our salvation. The glory of God and the salvation of our souls should be our chief object in life. So, He reminded his parents kindly that He must be about His Father’s business, and they returned to their home, and He was subject to them. 

*compiled from The Woman in Orbit and The Church’s Year by Fr. Leonard Goffine

Finding in the Temple

Why did our Lord go to the temple?

“The rumor of the coming of the Redeemer and of his being already in the world, though yet unknown, had gained ground among the Jews. They were seated in their places filled with the sense of authority customary to those who are teachers and considered as learned. The Child Jesus came to the meeting of these distinguished men; and He that was the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the infinite Wisdom itself, presented Himself before the teachers of this world as an humble disciple, giving them to understand that He had come to hear the discussion and inform Himself on the question treated of, namely: whether the Messiah was already come, or, if not, concerning the time in which He should come into the world.

“The opinions of the scribes were much at variance on this question, some of them answering in the affirmative, others in the negative. those in the negative quoted some testimonies of holy Scriptures and prophecies with the coarse interpretation reprehended by the Apostle: namely, killing the spirit by the letter. They maintained that the Messiah was to come with kingly magnificence and display in order to secure the liberty of his people by the exercise of great power, rescuing them in a temporal manner from the slavery of the gentiles; yet, that there were no indications of this power and freedom in the present state of the Hebrews and no possibility of throwing off the yoke of the Romans. This outward circumstance was an argument of great force among this carnal and blinded people; for they presumed, that the coming greatness and majesty of the promised Messiah and the Redemption was intended for themselves only.

“The teacher of truth, Jesus, foresaw that the discussion would end with the confirmation of this error. As the Lord had come into the world in order to give testimony of the truth, he would not allow that the deceit and error should be confirmed and established by the authority of the learned. Therefore, the divine Child presented Himself to the disputants, manifesting the grace poured out over his lips. He stepped into their midst with exceeding majesty and grace, as one who would propose some doubt or solution. By his pleasing appearance He awakened in the hearts of these learned men a desire to hear him attentively.

“Our Lord taught with a divine efficacy, and the scribes and learned men were all dumbfounded. Convinced by his arguments that the Messiah was already living, they looked at each other in great astonishment and asked: “What miracle is this? and what prodigy of a boy! Whence has He come and who is the Child?” But though thus astonished, they did not recognize or suspect who it was, that thus taught and enlightened them concerning such an important truth. It was during this time before Jesus had finished his argument that his most holy Mother and saint Joseph her most chaste spouse arrived, just in time to hear him advance his last argument.”

the agony of jesus in the garden

The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane is an episode in the life of Jesus. After the Last Supper, Jesus enters a garden where he experiences great anguish and prays to be delivered from his impending death on the cross (“Take this cup from me”) while also submitting to his Father’s will. The incident is described in the Synoptic Gospels ( Matthew 26:36–46, Mark 14:32–42, Luke 22:39–46).

Gospel narratives

Agony in the Garden by El Greco, c. 1590
See also: Luke 22:43–44
According to the Synoptic Gospels, immediately after the Last Supper, Jesus retreated to a garden to pray. Each gospel offers a slightly different account regarding narrative details. The gospels of Matthew and Mark identify this place of prayer as Gethsemane. Jesus was accompanied by three Apostles: Peter, John and James, whom he asked to stay awake and pray. He moved “a stone’s throw away” from them, where he felt overwhelming sadness and anguish, and said “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as You, not I, would have it.” Then, a little while later, he said, “If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, Your will be done!” (Matthew 26:42; in Latin Vulgate: fiat voluntas tua). He said this prayer thrice, checking on the three apostles between each prayer and finding them asleep. He commented: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. An angel came from heaven to strengthen him. During his agony as he prayed, “His sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44).

At the conclusion of the narrative, Jesus accepts that the hour has come for him to be betrayed.[1]


Agony in the Garden, Jesus prays in the garden after the Last Supper while the disciples sleep and Judas leads the mob, by Andrea Mantegna c. 1460
In Roman Catholic tradition, the Agony in the Garden is the first Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary[2] and the First Station of the Scriptural Way of The Cross (second station in the Philippine version). Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation for the sufferings of Jesus during His Agony and Passion. These Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ do not involve a petition for a living or dead beneficiary, but aim to “repair the sins” against Jesus. Some such prayers are provided in the Raccolta Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of 1854, and published by the Holy See in 1898) which also includes prayers as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary.[3][4][5]

In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor on reparations, Pope Pius XI called Acts of Reparation to Jesus Christ a duty for Catholics and referred to them as “some sort of compensation to be rendered for the injury” with respect to the sufferings of Jesus.[6]

Catholic tradition holds that Jesus’ sweating of blood was literal and not figurative.[7]

Holy Hour
In the Catholic tradition, Matthew 26:40 is the basis of the Holy Hour devotion for Eucharistic adoration.[8] In the Gospel of Matthew: “Then He said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful even to death; remain here, and watch with Me.'” (Matthew 26:38) Coming to the disciples, He found them sleeping and, in Matthew 26:40, asked Peter:

“So, could you not watch with Me one hour?”[8]
The tradition of the Holy Hour devotion dates back to 1673 when Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque stated that she had a vision of Jesus in which she was instructed to spend an hour every Thursday night to meditate on the suffering of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.[9][10][11]

Justus Knecht gives three possible causes for Christ’s sadness and agony: 1. He saw before Him the many and inhuman torments which awaited Him. He pictured all these terrible sufferings, enduring them in anticipation. 2. Christ took the sins of men on Himself, so as to offer satisfaction to the divine justice in their stead. Now that He was on the point of completing His work of Redemption, the horrible mass of evil, abomination and guilt came before His holy Soul and filled it with abhorrence and aversion. “Him, that knew no sin, for us God hath made sin, that we might be made the justice of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5, 21). 3. He knew beforehand how many souls would be eternally lost in spite of His bitter Passion and Death, because they would not believe in Him and would not love Him.[12]

Roger Baxter in his Meditations reflects on the angel comforting Christ, writing, “Good God! is it possible that the eternal Son of God should borrow comfort from His creatures? Observe how the Father of lights at last sends comfort to those who persevere in prayer. Imagine what reasons the angel might use in comforting your agonizing Saviour. He probably represented to Him the necessity of His passion for the redemption of mankind, and the glory that would redound to His Father and Himself. All this Christ understood infinitely better than the angel, yet He did not refuse the proffer of consolation, in order to teach you to respect the advice and consolation of your inferiors.”

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