Well, I’m sure you’ve seen some of the Home Alone reruns that have been on TV, and it’s one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies, believe it or not. And what I love about the movie is the transformation that happens to this young boy Kevin who gets left home alone.  So if you haven’t seen the movie it’s about this little boy Kevin and the movie begins with his family, they’re all kind of in the hustle and bustle, they’re getting ready to go on a family trip to Paris, and everybody’s kind of picking on Kevin. So Kevin finally says to his mother, “when I grow up and get married, I want to live alone”  He probably should have been a priest, right?  He is so frustrated with his family that he wants to live alone.  He doesn’t want them to be with him, and he even says, I wish everybody was gone, and his mother says if you say that and you mean it again, it just might happen. And the following day, he wakes up, and his whole family is gone. They forgot him; they left him behind—kind of like Jesus in the temple.  And so, after leaving him behind, Kevin must now discover how to grow up and now to kind of life as the man of the house. Not only that, but how to defend his home. Some burglars are going to be trying to get in it for the rest of the film, and that’s what kind of makes for the whole heart of the movie, is him protecting this family home. 

Well, by the end of the movie, of course, after a couple of days passed, there’s a scene where he goes to church, and he prays and asks God for a miracle, and he says, “can you please bring my family back to me?”  And so the next day, they all show up back at home, and he couldn’t be happier.  But the airplane scene when they’re flying away, the whole family’s flying away, they haven’t realized they’ve left Kevin yet and then the mother starts, she’s fretting, she’s agonizing, she’s worried, and she’s saying, I forgot, we forgot something. I’m not sure what we forgot. And she’s thinking, is it the oven? Did we leave the oven on, and the husband goes, no, I turned it off. What about the heat? Was it the heat? He says no, no, no, what about the garage doors? Did we leave those open? He goes, yeah, that was it, it was the garage doors.  And she goes, no, that’s not it, there’s still something. And then you see her face just turn like flush and all of the sudden she realizes Kevin is missing and so she screams Kevin and then tries to get home to him. 

Well, this movie Home Alone is a modern-day image of the scene that we hear in the gospel today of Jesus being left behind in the Temple, and so actually it says Jesus remained in the temple. He knew what He was doing, but Mary and Joseph did not, and so after about a day’s travel, they discovered that they had left behind their son, and so then they hurried back to Jerusalem, and they spent three days looking for him. Parents, have you ever lost your kids in the grocery store for like a minute? You know how terrifying that is. So Mary and Joseph are looking for Jesus for three days, just trying to find him.  And Jesus says, “did you not know that I must be in my father’s house?”. So he is saying something to the very profound.  He’s 12 years old now; he’s probably the same age as the kid in the movie. He’s 12 years old, and now he’s in his father’s house, and he’s saying,` Did you not understand? I must be in my father’s house’.  

So, this scripture reveals to us a few things, first of all, the love of family, so all of our families are called to be a holy family, and maybe right now you’re like Kevin McAllister, and you wish your families are gone, you had enough of them after Christmas, right?  But the love of family, and in the midst of our family, we are to discover the Holy Family.  But just like in the movie, there are times where our families have pulled apart, so maybe your children are not living with you right now, perhaps they’re across the country, maybe you have lost a loved one, maybe one of your children, one of your parents, one of your siblings and this Christmas just doesn’t seem the same to you. Perhaps there is tension in the family, and there’s a struggle. Well, it’s in the midst of this tension and struggle that God wants to show us what is important. And so, as important as families are and as important as the Holy Family is, Jesus is saying in this passage here that even more important than family is to be in our father’s house.  So that’s why we’re here today; we’re gathered together to be in our father’s house. Now for all of us, it takes spiritual maturity to come to this point, so especially people who have gone through RCIA who have been converts to the faith, they went through a beautiful process of transformation and formation until they were ready to come to this altar.  I think many of us who were baptized as we were infants sometimes don’t make that journey in a sense to the depth of what our faith is. So we are all called to discover, like Jesus, that we are supposed to be in our father’s home.  And so, just as Kevin in the movie he begins to be an adult, he goes to the grocery store and buys toothpaste and shops and protects his house. 

We’re all called to grow into an adult faith; we’re called to be spiritual adults in our faith. We’re called to go from this time of infancy and naïveté, which is excellent and magical, but to a time where we have this new wonder, this adult wonder, this adult faith that we all may live. And so whatever’s going on in your family right now, whether it be good or whether it be bad, whatever the struggles or joys may be, whatever is going on in your heart right now may be happening, just realize that right now at this moment you’re right where you’re supposed to be. You are in your father’s home. So may we all grow to the spiritual maturity as Jesus did as he grew in wisdom, in honor, age and favor. May we too grow in wisdom, age and favor as we celebrate this wonderful feast of our patrons, the Holy Family.