JESUS LOST IN THE TEMPLE (Luke
God's will has been clearly expressed
to us both in the life and in the teachings of Jesus Christ. His
will is expressed in what we commonly refer to as the commands of
Christ, summarized in the Beatitudes.
However, Christ saw to it that
these commands are expressed in general terms so that no one, unless
he is truly seeking God, could really know God's will through these
Christ's commands are seemingly
obvious, such as, to forgive one's enemies. But how do you observe
that in very specific cases? Who is your enemy? How do you show him
you forgive him without making him proud or give him the wrong
signals that you are at fault?
When Christ stayed behind in
Jerusalem, the Gospel says, He was with the Doctors asking them
questions. The Doctors, by their very title, were men learned in the
commands of God. And Christ was not asking them what the commands of
God were. Christ was asking them how these commands were to be
observed in very specific cases. In other words, Christ was, by His
questions, helping the Doctors to reason out from the commands of
God how these commands were to be applied in specific cases.
Christ was asking the doctors God's
will on specific cases by reasoning out from the general commands.
The Catholic Church calls this INTERPRETATION. Though well-versed in
the commands of God, the Doctors were unable to reason out correctly
and were ignorant of the interpretation. They could not find out
God's specific will by reasoning out from God's commands. So Christ,
by discreet questions, led them to reason out correctly. And the
Gospel says, they were astounded by His answers. What answers?
Wasn't Christ asking the questions? Well, they were astounded at
Christ's ability to know God's specific will as reasoned out
correctly from God's general will.
It was the same in the case of
Joseph and Mary. They knew Christ was the Son of God; they knew they
were the parents of Christ, and they knew a lot of other things. But
they, too, were held up for our instruction. And so we see that
Joseph and Mary knew some will of God but could not understand the
will of God pertaining to Christ's staying in Jerusalem without
being informed. "Why did you do this? Your Father and I were
And treating His parents in exactly
the way He treated the Doctors, Christ, using discreet questions,
led them from what they knew to what they did not yet know.
"Did you not know that I must be about My Father's
business?" And Joseph and Mary, it is said, did not understand.
And so Mary, and certainly Joseph, kept all these things in their
You see, to know God's specific
will, i.e., God's will about the details of our life, needs
knowledge of Christ's commands and the ability to reason out
correctly from these commands. And when we find out God's specific
will, which is usually difficult to understand, and yet obey them,
thus treasuring God's will in our hearts, then we will eventually
understand and become certain of God's will for us.
For us Catholics, the Fathers of
the Church have reasoned things out from the commands of Christ in
the New Testament. We just have to meditate on their writings. And
see how astounding the things they say are; because from the
writings of these, commonly called the tradition of the
Church, we can know God's will even on the most specific details of