The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
… and His mother kept all these things in her heart.
Today’s Gospel passage is proper to today’s feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The setting is unique within the four Gospel accounts: Jesus is twelve years old, on the verge of entering into Jewish manhood (an entrance celebrated today with the ceremony of bar mitzvah). If those scholars are correct who suggest that Jesus was conceived at the time of Passover, than today’s Gospel occurs right on the threshold of His thirteenth year of human life. So this narrative, like that of Jesus’ Baptism, foreshadows His vocation as the one who by His death leads the sheepfold to the Father.
The specific link between this Gospel passage and today’s feast is the final phrase, in which St. Luke notes that Mary “kept all these things in her heart.” Yet the culmination of “all these things” that are related in the passage are Jesus’ two questions: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
The setting makes Mary’s pondering all these things in her heart very poignant. As Jesus enters into manhood, He makes clear not just “Who” His Father is (which Mary and Joseph obviously knew), but also that His Father’s Will (symbolized by the Temple) is His reason for being in this world. With each new insight into her Son’s life, and with each of the seven swords that pierces her immaculate heart, Mary repeats time and again: “Fiat.”