READINGS: 1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28; Psalm 84: 2-3, 5-6, 9-10; 1 John 3: 1-2, 21-24; Luke 2: 41-52

From the temple at Shiloh with Hannah and Elkanah to the temple mount in Jerusalem, fervent families gathered for festive worship. “Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.”

As Hannah in turn gave to the Lord the son she knew as a gift, she dedicated him “as long as he lives.” And she knew not what and who her Samuel would be.

Astounded by the great love of the Father, we ponder the meaning of our being children of God now. “It has not yet been revealed what we shall be.”

Does it set you wondering, as I do, that “we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is”? How long to wait? And then comes this family narrative that is more than an incident of a pre-teen ramble among fellow travelers.

We look to find the familiar Presence where we expect to find this Holy One, where we’ve met before, among those who usually companion us, or where he’s supposed to be. Not finding, we turn more to where he’d last been with us and we with him.

Amazing! Sitting among the teachers, he’s listening and asking them questions. With his parents I ask, “Why have you done this to us?” And stilling me more, he says, “Why were you looking for me? Like them, I don’t really understand. This journeying with family to the Lord’s dwelling place is full of “expecting” and “not finding” and returning, and then the surge of feeling: relief, frustration, disappointment, misunderstanding.…the whole perplexing meaning of taking it all to heart.

Then down from the temple mount and returning to Nazareth’s hills, Jesus was

LISTENING [obedient] to them.

What’s going on in me as I hear, ponder, take to heart this interaction/communion within this Holy Family? I’m listening, Lord.

–Sister Eileen T. Kelly, SC

Sr-Eileen-KellySister Eileen is a teacher who served in New York and in the Bahamas. She gives occasional presentations in senior adult enrichment settings.