For any parent the worst feeling in the world is suddenly realising that the child who was by your side a moment ago has disappeared. This happened several times when my son was a small boy. Easily distracted he would often stop to look at something while the rest of the family walked on. Fortunately, we always found him within a few minutes, but I’ll never forget the terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when I noticed that he had gone.
So imagine the agony for Mary and Joseph returning home to Nazareth from Jerusalem, and suddenly realising at the end of the first day’s journey that the 12-year old Jesus was not with them. Frantic with worry they must have made the return journey and searched the city desperate to find him again.
Imagine too their surprise when after 3 days they found him in the Temple in discussion with the teachers, amazing them with the wisdom of his understanding and answers. In his innocence Jesus struggled to understand their distress and is surprised that they hadn’t realised that he would be in his ‘Father’s house’. Even at this young age, some 20 years before he began his public ministry Jesus already knew something about his divine identity. He wasn’t lost at all. He was found at home.