The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Luke 2: 41-51
Isa 61:9-11 / 1Sam 2

His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
(Luke 2:51)

Most Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Blessed recourse of our hurts and pain,
Inspire us never to grow weary
Serving God for our eternal gain.

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. When He was twelve years old, they went up, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while His parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking He was in their company, they traveled on for a day before they looked for Him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find Him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for Him. After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what He was saying to them. Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:41-51)

Reflection

Jesus was now 12 years old, and in the Jewish tradition, he was Bar Mitzvah, a “son of the law”, on the threshold of becoming a man. For Mary, His loving mother, however, He was still her little boy, even as His curiosity was beginning to dwell on Scriptures and matters of the Law. And she wondered how soon the time would come when she would no longer see Him. Mary’s heart would be pierced that day when on their journey home from a feast in Jerusalem, they discovered that their only son was not in the caravan that they had joined for the pilgrimage. Frantically, they asked their relatives and the playmates of the Child Jesus, and realized that He had been left behind in Jerusalem. It had already been a day’s journey, and as the distraught parents hurried back to the Holy City, the prophecy of Simeon in the temple flashed in her memory: “A sword will pierce your own soul” (Luke 2: 35).

Another day had passed, and the gentle carpenter and his wife were now on the verge of panic as they realized that at this time of the year Jerusalem was thronged with almost a million pilgrims coming from all over Judaea, and the search for a boy of 12 was like finding a needle in a haystack. It was only then that they decided their only recourse was to ask for God’s help. And that was how Mary and Joseph found themselves in the temple — to pray.

As they entered the courtyard, a circle of scribes and teachers caught their eyes. The sight could not escape notice because in the middle of the crowd was a child who seemed to be giving a discourse to the astonished men. It was their Child Jesus. A great relief finally washed over Mary as she ran towards Him. “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I were very worried looking all over for you.” And our Lord looked steadily at her and said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?” Mary could not answer the wisdom of these words. As with the other things she could not comprehend about her mystical Son, she just kept this event in her heart.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Three times in the life of our Lord, His mother’s heart was pierced: the first on the flight to Egypt to escape the slaughter of the innocents, the second time when her child Jesus was lost in Jerusalem for three days, and the third when He was mercilessly crucified on the cross for the redemption of all sins.

Blessed Mary, most humble and pure of hearts, thank you for giving us your Son Jesus to be our Redeemer. Forgive us for all the pains of your Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus that we had caused because of our sins. Intercede for us that our hearts may be like yours. Amen.

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