Finding Jesus in the Temple

The Solemnity of St. Joseph

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “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 were you looking 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.

Joseph and Mary feel great anxiety in these days. Jesus is missing and Jerusalem could be dangerous. Yet the young Lord Jesus is not lost. Retracing their steps they find him in the Temple. He’s dialoguing with the Jewish teachers, perhaps answering their replies with more probing questions of his own in the tradition of the rabbis.

Mary asks her Son, “Why have you done this to us?” Her anxiety, perhaps even touched by anger, is natural. Jesus has purposes in these events that his parents do not fully grasp, but they still love him and he loves them too. “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Jesus could have been found by his parents sooner; he was in the Temple the whole time.

You may feel great anxiety in these days. With the suspension of public Masses you could feel like Jesus is missing. Given the serious reports of disease the city could be dangerous. Yet we have not lost Jesus. Retracing your steps you can find him in the church.

What questions are you asking Jesus in prayer? What question does he pose you in reply? Perhaps you ask, “Why have you allowed this to happen to us?” Our feelings of anxiety or anger are natural. Jesus has purposes in these events that we do not fully grasp, but we still love him and he loves us too.

And Jesus can still be found nearby; he has been present in the tabernacle of the church this whole time. You can find Jesus in his Temple by visiting the Real Presence of our Eucharistic Lord. St. Paul’s Church is open daily, 7 AM to 7 PM and St. John the Baptist’s Church is open 8 AM to 7 PM on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, & Thursdays. These churches will be spray-disinfected for each day they are open, but use the cleaning materials located in the back of church to clean your seating area before and after use.

Follow these important safety tips as they might save your life or the lives of others’:

  • Realize that possibly 80% of confirmed cases of Coronavirus are contracted from people who did not realize they were sick and that symptoms typically take five days to manifest. Therefore, we must guard against this disease before we know it is among us. Practice social distancing.
  • If you have a cough or a fever, you might not be sick with the Coronavirus but please stay home; this virus can linger in the air and upon surfaces and infect others.
  • Remember that the virus can survive on surfaces (such as door handles, pews, and clothing) for one, two, or three days; so avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Treat unwashed hands as if they were infected and clean them often with soap and water.
  • Maintain at least a six-foot distance from other people.
  • No more than nine persons can be at the church at once (under emergency Wisconsin state law and by our bishop’s decree).
  • The most common place visitors sit in church is the back pews; so I suggest sitting in other, less-frequented, possibly-safer rows.

St. Joseph,
Patron of the Universal Church
and Protector of the Holy Family,
pray for us in our time of need


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