My sister once told me of the time my nephew got lost at a crowded beach. When Toni and my brother-in-law realized that Paul was missing, they were frantic. Toni stayed at their towels while Tom and some lifeguards went in search of Paul. About twenty minutes later Paul raced past my sister, so distraught he didn’t even see her. She had to run to catch up to him.

I realize Jesus was older than five-year-old Paul, but I’m nevertheless amazed at how composed he was, given this separation from Mary and Joseph. The difference between the two is obvious: My nephew became distraught when he realized he wasn’t where he belonged; Jesus, on the other hand, is serene because he realizes that he is exactly where he belongs.

“Where is Jesus?” they asked. Right where the Father wants him to be. Am I right where God wants me to be?

—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. is Professor of Education at John Carroll University, University Heights, OH,  and Rector of the John Carroll University Jesuit community.