Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
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… After three days they found him in the temple…His mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us?” …He said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” …His mother kept all these things in her heart.
Today we celebrate the immaculate heart of Mary. But what exactly does that mean? Well, based on today’s Gospel passage, it definitely means to have a patient heart.
Of course it includes so much more than that. After all, we all know (and believe) that Mary was a woman full of grace and full of virtue. She is and will always be the Mother of God and of all Christians as well. She is the most model par excellence of Christian living.
Now patience is a virtue, and arguably the most important virtue of our times. Patience is absolutely necessary in times of economic and political strife. Christians have always been known to be patient with sinners. Parents must learn to be patient with their children. We all know that patience is a virtue that pays off in the long run.
In today’s Gospel passage, we read how the child Jesus ran off on his own. How many of us would not have the sudden urge to yell at him, grab him by the arm, and yank him out of his socks (Did they wear socks back then???).
Mary’s attitude is one of holy patience. The question is: What does patience mean?
Patience means to be humble. Patience is another word for humility. Yes, humility. For when we are patient with others, we are reminded of ourselves through them. We cannot be quick to judge. We cannot be quick to condemn. Instead, we must be quick to ask. Son, why have you done this to us? What a brilliant question. Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? What an insightful answer!
If Mary was patient towards others, then all the more reason for us to be as well! Mary was not a sinner. We are. And God forbid that we forget that. Patient people do not forget that. They do not forget that when they see others with a lead foot. They do not forget that when they see their errors reflected in the eyes, mouths and actions of their children. They don’t. We shouldn’t either.
Our world lacks patient people today because it has done a “wonderful” job eliminating any sense of personal sin. After all, “Winning takes care of everything.”
Right Tiger? Right Lance? Actually, let’s be honest. It’s more like “Right Nike?”
Patience means to have hope. Patient people hope in God. They know whatever difficulty they are going through that even this “shall pass.” Patient people hope in the Lord. Love conquers all things. So, the only thing left to do is to never stop loving or lose hope.
Not only do Christians (patient people) hope in God, they also give hope in others. When we have patience towards others, it means we bring hope to them. We believe in them. We let them know that they can be better. We let them know that they can do much better. Without uttering a word, patient people tell others: “You’re better than this.” And they appreciate it.
Mary kept all these things in her heart. Why? Because she hoped in the Lord. If she did not understand something, she trusted in the Lord. If she did not see something, she believed in the Lord. Mary kept all these things in her heart, and slowly, but surely, she began to understand them one by one.
Patience is the key to unlocking the mysteries of God…and of life and death.