“Jesus Wept” (Jn 11:35). The shortest verse in the whole of Scripture… “Jesus wept.”
We will hear this verse read in this Sunday’s Gospel. Upon reflecting upon it, I cannot help but feel moved by the humanity of Jesus. He Who is God, takes on the whole of human nature. He feels all of the emotions we experience throughout our human lives. He is moved by compassion. He weeps. God weeps. And this is not the first time Jesus wept. Nor will it be the last…
At the beginning of Lent, I took the above image of the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple to prayer. Reflecting on this image, I prayed with the following Scripture passage from the Letter to the Hebrews 5:7-9:
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…”
Jesus “offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears” (Heb 5:7)What a passage to sit with while gazing at the Little Boy, gently reaching out to caress the face of His anxious, yet joyful Mother; the Mother who had been searching for Him for three days…
I cannot help but wonder, did this Little Boy cry? Did He weep when He realized He was lost, completely and seemingly abandoned by His mother and father in a distant city filled with hundreds of thousands of strangers? Did He weep when He anxiously searched for His family among the crowds in the Temple and surrounding area? Could it be that one of the teachers in that Temple with whom Christ would later be found, was actually the first to find Christ? Noticing Him as a Small Child with tears streaming down His face? Tenderly taking the scared little Boy by the hand, and leading Him to sit down with the other teachers? Trying to calm Him, comfort Him, and reassure Him with the words of Scripture that everything would be okay? That “though father and mother forsake you, the Lord will receive you” (Ps 27:10)? That all He needed to do was be still? Wait in His Heavenly Father’s house to be found? When the Little Jesus sat with the teachers in the Temple, could the reason that, “all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers” (Lk 2:47) be that this Little Child was indeed living for the first time the Paschal Mystery the ancient Scriptures foreshadowed and through which He would later redeem the world?
We may think that Jesus wanted to get lost, that He tried to get lost as a Boy, assuming that this is the case when we hear His words to His parents when they finally found Him: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house” (Lk 2:49)? But I imagine that this small Child, the age of twelve, must have felt fear, anxiety, panic upon realizing that He was indeed completely alone...
And this story prepares both the Child and the Mother for the three days during which they will again part… again through “loud cries and tears” (Heb 5:7)... The three days in the Temple. The three days in the tomb. The tears of a Little Boy. The tears of a Grown Man… A Man brutally mocked, scourged, abandoned… All out of love… All trusting that this alone could gain us too, access to His Father’s house. So long as we seek Him, we will find Him, so long as we knock the door will be opened to us…
May Mary’s open arms to receive her Son in the Temple foreshadowing her open arms to receive her Son at the foot of the Cross be our light and guide through these last weeks of the Lenten season.
Images (In order of appearance):
Michaelangelo. Pieta, The Vatican, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pieta_de_Michelangelo_-_Vaticano.jpg, public domain.
Novelli, Sofia. Finding Jesus in the Temple, Oil on Canvas, https://www.sofianovelli.com/en/sacred-art/finding-jesus-in-the-temple, used with permission.
3/29/2023 11:36:58 am
I was always puzzled by this mystery and asked God to help me understand. I never thought of this explanation but it seems so possible! Thank you and thank you God!
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