Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 2nd, 2011
Tom Shanahan, S.J.

University Relations
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Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
[382/573] Genesis 27:1-5, 15-29
Psalm 135:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6
Luke 2:41-51

The Immaculate Heart of Mary, the feast we commemorate in today’s liturgy, celebrates the great love that Mary has for God and for others.  That love is symbolized in the image of the heart.  Just as Jesus’ heart is the hallmark of his love for his Father and for the world and its creatures, especially us human creatures.

The gospel today highlights the love that Mary has for her son, Jesus.  It tells of a white-knuckle event in Joseph’s and her relationship with their pre-teenage son.  They had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and after the event and some days in the city they set out for home.  Unbeknownst to the parents their son did not make the return trip with them.

In the days of slow travel it wasn’t till a full day of journeying had passed that Joseph and Mary discovered that Jesus was not with the entourage of their relatives and friends.  So Back to Jerusalem they went to search for Jesus.

What must have gone through their minds as they traveled back to find him? Was he OK?  Had he been kidnapped?  Was he permanently lost and gone from them?  It took three days to find him St. Luke’s gospel tells us.  For three excruciating days of fear and troublesome, helpless wandering they sought their son.  How saddened their hearts must have been.

Finally their search ended when they found Jesus in the Temple in discussion with the elders there questioning them and astonishing them with his interest and his understanding.

Mary confronted him with the consequences of his actions and he responded in what may be a typical twelve year old’s push back, “Why were you looking for me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

The short story ends with Mary and Joseph taking the child back to their home place; they did not understand what the meaning of the event was, but they settled back in Nazareth and he lived obediently with them.  And Mary “kept all these things in her heart.”

Mary pondered in her heart the ups and downs of life in Nazareth.  And ultimately Mary’s heart was broken by the cruel death that was to be Jesus’ fate.  Mary’s heart, large and generous, kept with love, the beauty and the splendor of her son’s love inspired (as earlier) to be in his Father’s house.  And that “being” in the Father’s (and our) house makes all the difference for you and me.  And our hearts, like Mary’s immaculate heart, are invited to contain, to ponder and to share that beauty and splendor with a world needing all the love and heart it can get.    

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