It is perhaps significant that today’s gospel (LK 2:41-51) tells the story of the only event we have of the life of Jesus between the infancy narratives and his public life. I say that as high school graduation ceremonies and parties abound in our town. Today our Church celebrates Mary, the mother of Jesus. By extension, I think we might remember all mothers (and/or fathers) who are busy preparing food and cleaning house and otherwise readying the family to receive the crowd who will come to help them breathe a sigh of relief at the achievement of their “child” at the end of one and the beginning of another chapter in life.
The gospel story was about the trip Mary and Joseph made to Jerusalem for Passover when Jesus was 12 years old that turned into high anxiety when they found him missing on their way home. Returning to Jerusalem, they found him in the temple sitting with the elders, listening to them and asking them questions. He thought it was a fine thing to be doing, being “about my Father’s business,” while his mother remonstrated with him, trying to get him to understand her great anxiety.
Those years of parenthood are often not easy – nor are the teenage ones always a picnic for the teens – so today I pray for all parents and graduates who have survived until this day, that joy may be the hallmark of this moment. For all high school graduates as well, I pray for feelings of accomplishment, safety and a bright future. For all, a day of forgetting the difficult and celebrating the beautiful.