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Colossians 15A, 16A: Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Gospel of Luke 2:41-52:

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. 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. 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. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me?

Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man. Reflection

This week I pondered what it means to have the word of Christ dwell in us. To dwell is to stay, but to be able to stay, one must be welcomed. Do I welcome the word of Christ into my heart and life? And what consequences does that have? Growing up in a family has taught me that whenever I am away from home - regardless of the reasons - my parents are always anxious to have me home under their roof. Our conversations when they call would often begin with my mother asking, “Where are you?”

It is rather telling that her prime priority is in relation to the distance between us rather than the whats, whys and hows of our lives.

This has been a consistent pattern of my mother. It first came to my attention when I realized that these are also the same first words spoken by God the Father to Adam in Genesis after the Fall when He was searching for Adam in the garden. God asked, “Where are you?” The “where” orientates us to a space and a place. A family dwells together under the same roof, a father and mother naturally want to be with their children. When they sense the distance or a loss of that connection, they seek to reconnect. Mary in the Gospel today asks the same of Our Lord, “Where are you?”. This parallels Genesis except that the Child Jesus is found abiding with His Father, unlike Adam who was far and cut off from God because of his sin. Jesus begins to restore humanity with His simple re-orientation of “where”. He teaches us where we should be - with our Father. Of course, to abide is much more than to share a house, it is to be with, to exist with, to share life with. We attend Mass in response to God’s call, “Where are you?” We welcome the word of Christ in the Gospel and we receive Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Hopefully, our best human efforts for a repentant, clean and pure heart will result in a designated sacred space for God to live in. This is difficult to achieve for our hearts are constantly divided by distractions and disordered desires that do not bring good to ourselves or those around us. Lord, create in me a clear channel for peace, and a clean vessel of your grace so that your word may dwell and take root in the depths of my heart for the life of my soul and the souls of those whom you have placed in my life.

May the Blessed Mother who is your perfect vessel intercede for us.

May you find us where we should be, with You abiding in our hearts, and we in Your Sacred Heart. Amen.

PAPA Foundation
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