In 2011 I was in Madrid, Spain for World Youth Day. Started by St. John Paul II, World Youth Day is a gathering of Catholic young people from all over the globe to celebration their faith and have some face time with the Pope. I was leading a group of about 20 something high school and college students toward a night of Adoration on the other side of Madrid when we got lost. We had hopped on the subway and gotten out at a subway stop that was totally and complete wrong and it was 100% my fault.
I thought if we just walk a couple blocks this one direction maybe we end up in the right place, but instead prudence just told us to turn around. Rather than continue down this wrong path, the right thing was just to turn around. When we popped out of the sub on the other side, we heard sirens and not 90 seconds later, Pope Benedict the XVI came driving by in the popemobile and we were absolutely the only group on the side of the road in this sleepy Madrid neighborhood. I like to say we got a private audience with the Pope (at 50 miles per hour) all because we simply turned around.
In life when we recognize we’ve made a wrong decision or taken a wrong turn we have a decision to make, do we persist in that errant decision or do we turn around? In the gospel this Sunday we will read about what Joseph and Mary do in just such a situation.
The Holy Family has traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. After completing the festival they leave in a large caravan of people. After a day of travel, Joseph and Mary realize they have left 12 year old Jesus in Jerusalem (Think Home Alone 2 but Jerusalem instead of NYC).
What do Joseph and Mary do? They turn around. They don’t try and justify their travel or find another way to retrieve their child. No, they just turn around and go to Jesus. I think this is a pretty solid course of action for any of us when we wander off.
If you feel like you have lost your way or have made a bad decision, don’t justify where you are or explain yourself, simply turn around and return to Jesus. It is actually as simple as stopping and going back to where you were.
LIVE it: This year December 26 is the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Family. Maybe you’ve made a bad decision or a wrong turn with someone in your family (maybe it just happened at Christmas). Stop, turn around, and go to Jesus about this issue. After that, go to your family member and seek to make amends. It just may be the thing you need this Christmas.