Praying the Gospel through the Rosary: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

Submitted by Deacon Kim Krupka

From his infancy until Jesus’ baptism around the age of thirty, the Gospels give us only one event from
Jesus’ life. For some, this absence of information on the Savior of the world is a mystery, while for
others, it is enlightening. The story unfolds in Luke 2:42-52: “After they had completed its days, as they
were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking
that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and
acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.”
At the age of twelve, the Holy Family traveled to Jerusalem according to Jewish custom for a festival.
Luke is the only evangelist to give us this detail that shows, as in the Presentation, that Jesus was a good
Jewish boy in a devout Jewish family. We can also discern that his family was part of a close-knit
community. Think about it, Joseph and Mary traveled for three days in perfect comfort that Jesus was
somewhere in the caravan with friends and family. As a parent reading this story, I boil with emotions
like, how could this boy, incapable of sin, give his parents so much anxiety? Mary says, “Son, why have
you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” Jesus gives a
somewhat smart response, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my
Father’s house?” This seems a little like a modern teenager giving a very human response to a parent’s
Luke goes on to bring us more mystery for mediation. “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.” A point to ponder here is, how much did the infinitely wise Jesus
know, and how genuine was his human learning? Luke gives us words to say that Jesus, like any human,
learned through life. “And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” This is a
mystery. St. Ambrose, a fourth-century teacher in the Church, describes this event as the start of Jesus’
public ministry. What Jesus said and did for his next eighteen years remains a mystery.