June 9, 2018
by Ann Mausbach
Creighton University's Education Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lectionary: 358/573

2 Timothy 4:1-8
Psalms 71: 8-9, 14-15AB, 16-17, 22
Luke 2:41-51

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Today is The Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which celebrates the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The gospel reminds us of both the great joy and sorrow that comes with the territory of being a Mom. I have been experiencing my own internal struggles as I am in the throes of the joy/sorrow thing as I watch my first born graduate from high school. Trying to find meaning in all of the emotions I am feeling has been a challenge, but today’s gospel has helped me put a couple of things in perspective.

Love requires acceptance and openness, not always understanding. - In today’s gospel, Jesus was breaking new ground with his parents. He did this because they needed to understand who he was at a deeper level. It was hard for them to see him in a role that wasn’t familiar to them. Who was this brilliant child who was both asking and answering questions of the most learned in their community?

Being a parent isn’t so much about letting your children go as much as it is being open to who and what they will become. I am continually amazed at how hard this can sometimes be. I think it's because we can’t fathom a different, changed version of our child. Sometimes we just don’t get it, we can’t understand. Mary and Joseph didn’t understand what Jesus was saying to them, but Mary (as always appropriate) pondered all these things in her heart. I am sure she wasn’t super pleased with what Jesus had done, she had to be scared to death, but she continued to work on understanding and loving him.

I think of all of the many phases of my life, of the things I have done that have both created joy and disappointment for my own mother and I am struck by how consistent her love and devotion has been. I am sure she didn’t always understand me or my choices, but she never faltered in her love and support. This is what God wants for our relationship. He wants us to be open, to stick with it, to love even when things don’t make sense.

Searching isn’t about answers, but the journey - Mary and Joseph searched three days for Jesus, and on the third day found him alive and well. But they didn’t find him in the expected places -- the safe confines of his extended family or the familiar company of the pilgrims’ caravan. After three days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem having spirited discussions with the teachers of the day.  This was certainly unexpected and probably the beginning of seeing Jesus in a whole new light.

Watching my son search for his place in high school was hard for me as I thought I knew exactly where he should land. I had picked out the friend group I wanted him to be in, the activities I felt he should participate in, and the girls he should ask to the dances. And yet, even though his choices were different than mine where he landed helped me see him as he is, not as I thought he should be. And this is why God wants us to search for him in our daily lives. Searching for him helps create meaning for us. It enriches our relationship. Finding him in the unexpected creates a richer understanding of who he is and his love for us.

Today let us remember to love and search as Mary did. Her example serves as a reminder of what compassionate love can do.

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