"Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ 50But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour."

Luke 2: 41-52 (NRSV)

A strange joy – following a time of deep anxiety probably bordering on panic: Mary and Joseph find Jesus in the Temple. Their reaction of bewilderment is easily understandable – what does he mean about needing to be about his Father’s business? Especially when it has caused them so much distress? 

As a terminal illness progresses, there can come a time when the person who is dying may begin to focus on their inner world, deepening their relationship with God.  For their loved ones, it can feel as if they are already losing them.  It is a grace when people can pray together and gently let the person they love go into the hands of the God who is preparing to bring them home. 

Pray for those accompanying a person during the last days of their lives and who already feeling their loss.

     Mary, Lady of the Temple,
     your own body acted as temple to your Son –
     his loss the first touch of the sword set to pierce your heart.
     Pray for those who are facing the loss of a loved one;
     strengthen their trust in the God who lets no-one be lost
     but has created safe haven for those whom he calls to be his own.

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