Today’s rosary meditation focuses on The Fifth Joyful Mystery — The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. When returning from a festival in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph noticed that Jesus was not in the caravan. They went back to Jerusalem and searched for Jesus for three days before finding Him in the temple talking to the elders. When Mary said that she and Joseph had been searching for Him in sorrow, Jesus responded, “Why did you search for me? Did you not know I had to be in My Father’s house?” (Lk. 2:49).
Mary and Joseph traveled for a day before noticing that Jesus was missing from the caravan. They assumed He was somewhere else in the party. How far do we sometimes travel in life before we notice that Jesus is missing? How many days do we sometimes go without praying, reflecting on our sins, or thanking God for all the blessings He gives us? How many people do you know who are moving away from God’s graces by sinning but just assume God is “cool” with everything they are doing? Like Mary and Joseph assuming that Jesus was still in the caravan, many times we assume that we are much closer to the Lord than we really are. Many times we willfully go against Church teaching and sin and yet still think we are in God’s graces. It takes a lot of strength and courage to really examine ourselves, admit when we have moved away from the way God calls us to live, and then turn back and rediscover Jesus. We reconnect with Jesus through the sacrament of Reconciliation, prayer, reading the Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Basically, we find Jesus in His “Father’s house” when we act in accordance with His Church’s teachings.
Mary and Joseph searched for Jesus for three days before finding Him. I think this is an important aspect of this mystery. It shows us that sometimes, even when we commit ourselves to finding Jesus in our lives, it can still be a long and difficult journey. We don’t always instantly feel God’s graces when we choose to reject sin and follow Jesus. I’ve heard many times of people feeling frustrated, depressed, or angry with God because they do not feel His presence although they are constantly looking for Him through prayer, fasting, and not sinning. But this mystery teaches us that we must not give up. We must constantly be looking for Jesus like a parent would look for a lost child. Mary and Joseph did not give up their search and neither should we. The Gospel describes that Mary and Joseph searched “in sorrow.” Our path to Jesus might not be easy and there will probably be setbacks, dead ends, relapses, and disappointment. But this is one search that we must never call off because our very souls are at stake.
Let us meditate and pray for all of those who are moving away from God. We should pray especially for those whose pride has blinded them to the truth of God’s Word. We must pray for those who twist the Church’s teachings to try to justify sinful behavior. And we ask God for the strength to always turn towards Him and return to His Father’s house when we stray. For it doesn’t matter how far off track we are, either with a single sin or a lifetime of sinful behavior, we can always turn around and find God’s mercy.