When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them.
Can you remember the first time you were at odds with your parents? When they saw you in a way that was different to the way you saw yourself? Luke tells this story to show that Jesus, from an early age, had a relationship with God that took priority for him over family expectations. Mary’s distress and anger are quite understandable. Jesus’s answer seems dismissive and disrespectful. Yet the story shows that Jesus and Mary have different priorities. Jesus then accepts a compromise and returns to Nazareth with his family and is obedient to them.
The phrase “His mother treasured all these things in her heart”, perhaps indicates that Mary also made a compromise to allow Jesus to to pursue his call as an adult. This dynamic between Jesus’ humanity and divinity continues into our present as we wonder about how Jesus holds and brings together God and humanity in his own life and continuing work amongst us.