After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.
Have you ever been left out of a group? Maybe you were accidently not included in the group email or part of the conversation. I have heard stories of large families accidently leaving a child behind because the parents were preoccupied with other things. Hollywood made a famous seasonal movie called "Home Alone", with the family inadvertently leaving their child at home while going to an overseas country. Of course in these events, the parents rushed back and felt guilty about the entire episode.
This weekend we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In our gospel reading from Luke, we find that the family had made pilgrimage to Jerusalem and were on their way back to Nazareth. This was a long journey, and the custom back then was that the men traveled separately from the women. Unfortunately, each parent thought Jesus was with the other, but soon discovered that they had left him behind. You can imagine the emotion that struck Mary and Joseph, that they had forgotten the savior of the world, that they had left him behind. They got caught up in the planning and travel that they forgot their child. They rushed back to Jerusalem to find him in the temple.
Life gets busy for all of us. Stresses of work, pressures of home and the daily grind. But the one thing we cannot forget is Jesus. He should be in every part of our lives. This story shows us that even the best people can get so distracted that we can lose sight of what is most precious in our lives. Also remember that Jesus was in the temple area for Passover and it was Joseph and Mary that left him. Jesus will never leave us, but we will occasionally stray from him. This might also happen in our family life. We often take our spouse or those closest for granted; we might take the gifts that God has given us for granted. May we always be mindful of Jesus in our lives and be attentive to others at work or at home who need attention and are on the fringes. After all, how do you think Jesus would feel if you forgot about him or took him for granted?