Malachi 3:1–4/Psalm 24:7,8,9,10/Hebrews 2:14–18/Luke 2:22–40
Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple. which occurs forty days after our celebration of the birth of Jesus. The Holy family made a journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem in order to fulfill the law. Again, in today’s liturgy we carry out the practice of blessing candles and processing into the Church, a practice that symbolizes our journey from the circular to the sacred or from our earthly home to heavenly Jerusalem. In the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (Luke 2:22). The presentation of Jesus in the temple is in fulfillment with the Jewish law. Every male child must be taken to the temple and an animal must be offered as a sacrifice. Some lessons for us:
We must bring our children to Christ: Mark 10:14 says “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for such as these belong the kingdom of God.” Today, apart from the fact that we bring our children forward for baptism how many of us still encourage them to join societies in the Church. How many of our children are active youth members or choristers or legionaries and the likes. This mystery shows that it is important not to neglect the duty of teaching children about God and His laws. Prov.22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Deu. 6:7 says you shall teach them diligently to your children. Beloved in Christ, teach your children diligently.
Mary and Joseph kept their religious obligation without delay. Therefore, we too must keep our religious obligations. Today, we find it very difficult to keep some religious obligations. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in its Compendium, enumerates the following five:
- You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labour.
- You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
- You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least once during the Easter season.
- You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
- You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
Do we still appreciate these obligations? When we don’t fulfill our obligations in worship we may not receive the grace that the worship brings.
Joseph and Mary were poor. The traditional offering for purification was a lamb and a turtledove if the parents were rich, and two doves or two pigeons if they were poor. They offered two turtle doves as opposed to a small lamb that a wealthier couple would have offered. In obedience to religious obligation everybody has a role to fulfill, the poor and the rich have something to offer. In Mark 12:43 says “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others”. Thank God in most places harvest levies are graded; of course all fingers are not equal. But most times when we are told what to pay we grumble. Your offering is supposed to be an expression of your blessing. Remember we don’t grumble when we receive gifts and blessings. After all the slogan is “nothing is too big and nothing is too small! My dear, “nothing is too big but something is too small”. Ps.4:5 says “offer a just sacrifice and trust in the Lord.” A just sacrifice is the right sacrifice; therefore, let us offer the right sacrifice to the Lord. Today, as we present ourselves to the Lord may we find the enabling grace to use our time and resources well. Amen
Let us Prayer
Almighty ever-living God, we humbly implore your majesty that, just as your Only Begotten Son was presented on this day in the Temple in the substance of our flesh, so, by your grace, we may be presented to you with minds made pure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.