It's been a busy week but in the middle of all the happpenings, one always finds time to reflect and look back at the year that was, and say, "God's been good."
A week ago, we celebrated Christ's birth. Last Sunday, the Gospel reading was about the middle school-aged Jesus in which his parents lost him in the crowd and busyness of the festival season they were in.
Ten minutes into the New Year, while people my family stood across the fountain looking at the partying crowd at Eastwood, Daniel, my "grandkid" (my niece's son) who is turning two in a few days, took me by the hand and tugged it. Motioning that he wanted to go where the crowd was, I gave in and took him there. As soon as we reached the area he let loose of himself from my grip and started playing with the confetti on the ground! My family can tell even at his young age that Daniel loves the outdoors. Whenever he hears the words, "Let's go!" his eyes brighten. he'd hold the hand of the one who said the phrase and tug it! Once he's outdoors, he always wants to be let loose and run around. Our greatest fear was losing him in a crowd as big as last night's! So it took my sister, my niece and me to look after an active one-year-old boy!
I think very few things in life compare to the horror of a missing child. If you have ever looked around for just a moment to discover your child out of sight with no idea where he or she is you know the horror it invokes. Keep in mind, that while Jesus was the Christ, Mary and Joseph were mere humans - a mother and father who loved their child dearly; had clothed and fed him; taught and nurtured and watched him grow. This was a very human moment and I can only imagine the range of emotions that must have set in: panic, fear, anger, guilt - all come to mind. Then prayerful relief, overwhelming joy, and celebration followed by panic, fear, anger, and guilt all over again considering the possibilities of what might have been.
I remember getting lost one Christmas season in Rustan's Department Store in Cubao when I was five! My mom and dad brought all five children- ages ranging from mid-twenties to four out Christmas- shopping at Rustan's. A pile of toys caught my attention and ran from my family. Confident that my siblings would look after me, my parents went about shopping. Three minutes laters I stood surrounded by gigantic adults milling around! I knew at that point my family lost me. Having been schooled in Sesame Street, from which I learned that when one gets lost, one should go to a person in your neighborhood, a policeman! I couldn't tell a policeman from a security guard! I saw a man in uniform, walked to him and tugged his pants. I remember telling the man with a lump in my throat a truth I had fully accepted at that point, "Sir, I'm lost." In my five year old head, I was already thinking of nuns raising me in an orphanage!
Three days pass and Mary and Joseph find their son in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and answers. But Mary and Joseph were also astonished and as you might imagine they were also perplexed. "Child, why have you treated us so; your father and I have been searching for you with great anxiety." And Jesus seems surprised at their frustration, "why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house - about my Father's business - Father with a capital "f".The guard brought me to a booth and was endorsed to a group of women. One of them lifted me and sat me on her counter. She asked who I was and who my dad was. In a short while she and I were having a conversation about my favorite food, toys, and Superman!
I heard my name sounding from the public address system. Five minutes later I saw my entire family running towards the booth. By the time they reached me I was standing on the counter top with arms wide open! They never got mad mainly because they knew I did the right thing! My dad wanted to write to the producers of Sesame Street for having taught me well! I'd never been lost since.
And so we find the young boy Jesus in the Temple about his Father's business. He claims a new identity for himself - no longer a baby but a youth coming into his own. The baby Jesus is growing up. He has a different sense of meaning and purpose about his life. To Him, He wasn't lost, He'd been with His Father all along. "Whose child are you Jesus?" perhaps someone asked.
As children of God who have been lost we know what it's like to have been found. Last Sunday, while Ken Cataylo sang "Were It Not for Grace" during offertory, I was thinking the whole time of having been found, and how we will never want to be lost again. And even if we find ourselves amidst an unfamiliar crowd, because we know whose children we are and know our Father's business of calling people unto Himself, we will never want to wander away.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!