This time of year it’s always fun to re-watch the “Home Alone” series of Christmas movies. If you aren’t familiar with them they all are pretty similar; family goes on a Christmas vacation, family leaves son at home, family doesn’t realize it until they are thousands of miles away, family leaves vacation and rushes home to spend Christmas with their son. Add in an absurd amount of drama and you have a “Home Alone” movie.
This Sunday’s gospel reminds me of those movies, essentially from the simple idea that Mother Mary and Joseph leave their pre-teen son in Jerusalem after the Feast of Passover festival is over. When they realize that He’s not with them they rush back to Jerusalem, search the town for 3 days and find Him in the temple sitting with the teachers.
It’s at this point that we see a glimpse into the dynamic of the Holy Family. Mary says to Jesus, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And He said to them, “Why are you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
Many people might read this scripture and think to themselves, “Mary how in the world could you leave Jesus behind? If I was Mary or Joseph, I would never leave Jesus behind!”
It’s at this point that we must look into our hearts, and realize that we too in the past, now or even in the future have left or will leave Jesus behind. We’ve joyously celebrated Mass on Sunday and instead of going out and spreading the good news we’ve left Him in the pew. Sometimes we might pray in the morning or evening and then pack Him away in our nightstand. We might even participate in an amazing retreat only to return home to quickly leave Christ behind in our everyday activities.
As we finish up our Christmas season and start our new year, don’t leave Christ behind and if you have already lost Him, His words still ring true today on where to find him, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” When he’s found don’t forget to celebrate, for we all have much to celebrate!