Right in Front of Your Eyes

Right in Front of Your Eyes

Have you ever lost your child… even for a brief moment, which seemed like eternity?

Those moments make you sick with fear.

When our oldest was about 5 y/o, we were shopping at a clothing store in a strip mall. It was summertime and they had the front doors open because the shop was so hot.

I remember taking my eyes off of my daughter for just a few seconds. Something shiny caught my eye and she was gone in a hot minute when I looked back at her.

My heart skipped beating and I began to frantically look for her.

Calling her name loudly. Nothing.

Running around the store looking in every corner. Nothing.

I told the shop clerks who closed the front doors and checked the dressing rooms, then I ran outside screaming her name.

Again, nothing.

The next step was to call the police and other shops in the mall so they could look for her too.

It wasn’t until I came back in the store, sobbing uncontrollably, that she jumped out from inside a clothing rack and happily ran into my arms without any notion of turmoil around her.

The clerks sweetly laughed and handed me a box of tissues.

In my frustration, I scolded my daughter for playing such a trick and scaring me so badly – my goodness, I thought she had been abducted!

In her small 5 year-old voice I remember her saying, “Why would you think I’d ever leave you?” You see, she had been hiding inside the very rack that I had been looking through before I realized she was ‘missing’. I was literally staring at her, but the cloud of clothing hid her from my eyes and I panicked.

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family; the Gospel is Luke 2:41-52. It’s the story of Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. Then, when the celebration ends, the family returns to their home in Nazareth.

Back then, family and friends would caravan to and from the Holy City for the Jewish feasts. These caravans could be miles long. It was totally normal for children to hang out with their cousins and friends at different points of the caravan for the several days journey. So, when Mary and Joseph realized that Jesus was ‘missing’ after just one day, we can’t consider them ‘bad parents’ – it was part of their culture.

Like me, they were out of their mind with the fear that something bad had happened to their child.

Unlike me, their Child was THE SON OF GOD.

No pressure there.

So, Mary and Joseph made their way back to Jerusalem; and searching high and low, they found Jesus in the Temple.

The conversation went something like this:

“Why did You do this to us?”, they asked. “Your father and I have been looking for You with great anxiety.”

12 y/o Jesus answers, ““Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Now, I’m not going to address the theological implications of the Holy Family’s dialog.

I want to reflect on the fact that Mary and Joseph – the parents of God – didn’t realize that Jesus never really left them; that He was right where He was supposed to be. Just like my daughter, who was right in front of my eyes yet hidden in a clothing rack.

Sometimes our senses are clouded by shiny things, selfishness, sin, and the busyness of life, we assume that God is absent, that He abandons us in our darkest times. We desperately search, we anxiously pray, we beg for God to show Himself. In reality, He’s never left and much closer than we could ever imagine.

Be like Mary and Joseph don’t give up; keep searching.

You’ll find Him; look deep inside and in your Father’s house.

Pray for me as I pray for you.

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