“Jesus said [to Joseph and Mary], ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” Luke 2:49-50
Recall that the Holy Family had gone to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. On this particular occasion it is believed Jesus was about 12 years old. We can only imagine the panic which surely gripped Mary and Joseph when they finally realized Jesus was not with them as they were headed back to Nazareth. When they found Him in the Temple, He was interacting with the religion teachers and “astounding” them with His questions and answers.
It is the answer Jesus gave to His parents, however, that is at the heart of the story and speaks to us today in the midst of our busy-ness and subsequent spiritual thirst. We cry out to The Lord and expect Him to come running as we seek His comfort and care in the midst of our self-pity. Hardly ever do we consider what His answer would be when we finally found Him: “Did you not know I must be about My Father’s business?”
It is so easy and comforting to take a few bits and pieces of the Gospel stories to justify our reasonable expectation that Jesus will come when He is summoned, but it is much more difficult to comprehend the certain reality that searching for Jesus is going to take us to places we might rather not be as Jesus goes “about My Father’s business”!
Where will we find Him? Exactly where He expects to be found: in the pain and suffering of those who mourn, in the growling of young bellies in perpetual hunger, in the hearts of young parents with a cancer-stricken child, in the loneliness of the shut-in. We will not often find Jesus in the comfortable and “cool” places on Sunday morning (though this is where we will find one another AND the Holy Spirit). Rather we will find Him going “about the Father’s business”, showing us where He expects us to be found, where He wants us to find Him: in the midst of pain and suffering and loneliness and hunger and doubt and fear. He wants us to find Him there because He wants us to be there with Him, with His beloved who need Him – and who need us.
The religion of our Christian faith hinges on this perpetual search; finding The Lord in what we would consider the most unlikely places – AND – understanding there is a reason why He wants to be found among the “least”, the “last”, and the “lost” … because this is where He needs US to be found, “going about the Father’s business”.