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Following is the reflection which Terry Klein gave at a recent Epiphany meeting.


by Terry Klein

Jesus Christ was human.  Jesus Christ was divine.  This is one of the great mysteries of our faith.  Although most think only of his divinity … as a serious, suffering Christ, a closer look at the gospels will show the real humanness of Jesus Christ.  We see Jesus tired, sleeping, frustrated, angry, weeping, and praying.  Just how far can we carry this humanness of Jesus Christ?

We tend to view Mary as the Mother of God in all of her glory.  How much more would we appreciate her if we would only realize she was a struggling woman, a very human person with the same day to day problems all of us face?  I find tremendous comfort and support knowing our God actually became human.  Jesus did not come here to just put on a human mask but to become one of us.  I think God wanted to experience, first hand, our humanness.

The following is from the Gospel of Luke.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover.  And when he was 12 years old they went up, according to the custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem.  His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him.  After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.  And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so?  Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”  And he said to them, “How is it you sought me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  And they did not understand the saying in which he spoke to them; and his mother kept all of these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor of God and man. (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 24:41-52)


Now, a gospel … according to Terry Klein

It is natural for children to look to the day when they will be on their own.  Jesus was no exception, and like most kids, he could not wait.  The family was planning a trip to Jerusalem.  Twelve years was a perfect age to prove his independence.

Without understanding the dynamics of the caravan, it is impossible to imagine Mary and Joseph did not know the whereabouts of Jesus during that day and not be considered lacking in their parental responsibilities.  The caravan consisted of camels, donkeys, wagons and, of course, people.  The men led the caravan tending to the camels. The women followed on donkeys, chatting about their children, making plans on where they are going on vacation, and enlightening each other about the activities of neighbors who were not there.  The children ran behind playing games such as kick the camel chips (a game were the goal is to hit the opponent with the chip, a game where winning is a must).

Jesus must have been as popular as a child as he was in later life.  If Jesus stayed behind, the other children would have certainly missed him and they would have notified Mary, Joseph or other adult; (you know how kids are tattling on others:  Jesus got in trouble, Jesus got in trouble).  Therefore, either by hook or crook, collaboration or coercion, he had to have support from his friends.  This seems to be the only explanation that would exonerate Mary and Joseph from being unfit parents.

I can see it now, Jesus planning his escapade … rather escape … to see what life was like in the big city.  On February 2, 0, A.D., after the ceremony in the temple, he hid behind the pillar by the window and watched the caravan leave for Nazareth.  He stood at this precise place in case his parents missed him, then he could run out to them stating he had to go the bathroom.  This part of the plan came off … Perfect. 

You know, I might have stumbled onto the origin of the genuflection.  Jesus must have been so excited at the success of his plan, just like the athlete scoring the winning point, dropped to his knee, pointed #1 with his finger, and, in a whispered scream: Yes! …  Yes!  ... Yes!!!  The sign of the cross would come later.  Back to the gospel; he would have three days to see what life was in the fast lane.

Jesus probably walked around for awhile, taking in all he could.  One can only imagine what he saw, who he talked to and what he experienced.  Perhaps wine, women and song entered his mind; surely there were bars in those days, Jesus would have, at least, looked in the windows.  However; as the day wore on, feelings of guilt, loneliness and even panic set in.  He went to the only familiar place he knew, the Temple.  It was also the very place he felt his Mom and Dad would come looking for him.

At about the same time, Mary and Joseph began to question his whereabouts.  “Mysteriously” none of the kids knew anything.  After frantically backtracking and searching, they found Jesus in the same place they last saw him.  Mary exclaimed her complete frustration, yelling: “Son, why have you treated us so?  Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”  And he said to them, “How is it you sought me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Like all adolescents Jesus came back with a remark not completely understood by his parents and certainly not relating the trouble he found himself in.   “How is it you sought me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  Jesus came up with a great defense teenagers have been using ever since.  “Hey, I’m innocent here … I’ve been in church … Let’s change the subject”.  Whose to say Mary taught Jesus a lesson he would not long forget; … grounding him for the next 18 years!

It is interesting there is no biblical mention of Jesus after this incident until his public ministry began.  At the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry we find him trying himself one more time.  At Cana, John’s gospel tells the story of the wedding feast.  Jesus, again, does not want to do what his mother requested.  All I can wonder … if her threat of him grounded for another 18 years … helped to change his mind.

Mary was given the title “Mother of God”.  She earned it!

This is not necessarily the word of the Lord.