Monday, November 07, 2005

Typology: Finding Jesus in the Temple

I usually start the morning in contemplative prayer for a few minutes. (I didn't start off this practice with the intention of doing contemplative prayer, but I'm really not capable of much more until I wake up.) Anyhoo, this morning I was struck (ouch) by a thought about the fifth of the Joyful Mysteries. I don't even recall how I got there, but I gues I didn't really get myself there at all.

I'd never really thought much of the story of the 12-year-old Jesus being left behind in Jerusalem. This morning, though, I noticed a few parallels that suggest that this episode is typologically the death and resurrection of Christ from the perspective of the Blessed Mother:

The points of similarity:

- The event takes place in Jerusalem.

This needs no explanation.

- It's the feast of Passover.

Nor does this.

- Jesus "is lost" by His own choice.

Just as Christ chose His death, He chose to remain behind.

- His parents search for and find Him on the third day.

This represents their separation from Jesus and the anxiety and fear they undoubtedly had for Him. They find Him on the third day and are relieved of their fear and anxiety.

- He's in His Father's house (the temple) speaking to the teachers.

The teachers could represent the righteous in Limbo. Jesus listens and asks questions, but clearly his questions are not of the usual cut.

Of course, like any analogy, this story doesn't perfectly reflect the antitype of Christ's death and resurrection:

- Being lost isn't the same as being dead.

- There's no sufferring on Jesus's part as far as we can tell.

- Jesus is in His Father's House, which differs from Limbo symbolically, and the teachers are not necessarily as righteous as the Old Testament fathers.

Nonetheless, the similarities are striking.
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