Another adventure in Moments in the Life of Jesus That Used to Bewilder Claire But Are Now Her Favorites! (Perhaps I should work on another title before the next installment.)
If you buy the Bergsma-ism that the holy family never offered to sacrifice to "redeem" Jesus from His firstborn duties in the Temple, then it's very sensible that He should stay behind at the Temple - after all, He was then twelve years old, and nearly a man by Hebrew law! How cool would it have been to be bar mitzvah'd at the Temple? (Seems about on par with being ordained in Rome by the Pope.)
But His family returns to collect Him, even though He clearly would be content remaining in the Temple and discussing theology with the Temple scholars, who were impressed by Him.
"Your father and I have been looking for you," Mary says. Jesus, Who is perfect man and God, submits to the will of His mother, who is perfect in her humanity but less perfect than He is. When they return to Nazareth, we can surmise, both submitted to the direction of Joseph, who isn't even perfect! This seems so backwards - the most fallible one in the family making all the decisions?
But even conventional wisdom tells us that the Lord works in mysterious ways. He has chosen to make woman very capable, and has asked her to submit to her husband, even though he's not perfect. (Similarly, children to their parents, but this is far less scary, especially since parents generally do know more than children. With spouses, it's often fairly equivalent.)
Being the submissive wife the Lord asks me to be without throwing aside the gifts of my personality will be a struggle for me, when that time comes. But in the meantime, I simply marvel at the backwards-seeming beauty of moments like this.
St. Joseph, foster-father of us all, pray for us.