Malachi 3: 1-4, Hebrews 2: 14-18, Luke 2: 22-40
Today the Holy mother Church celebrates the presentation of the Lord in the temple as a fulfillment of the mosaic and religious rites of their time. In that Law, all the firstborn sons of the Israelite are to be dedicated to God, and thus, Jesus as the firstborn Son of Mary and His legal foster-father St. Joseph, was presented to the Lord. This day is also the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, according to the tradition of the Jewish law and today marks the fortieth day since Christmas, the time when Mary had her ritual purification and also when the Child Jesus was presented before the Lord at His Temple.
The presentation in the temple is consecration and redemption of the firstborn (Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16) signifying that the child is “holy to the Lord”. The presentation of Jesus is an observance to this religious requirement of their time. Today, the parents of Jesus showed their dedication once again to God. They did this to show their willingness to keep the law. For the gospel says as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’” (v. 23). The law in question is Exodus 13:2, where Yahweh says, “Sanctify to me all of the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal. It is mine” (see also Exodus 13:12, 15). This is in commemoration of the Passover. They always keep the law, both religious and societal norms. When you look at the life of the Holy family one sees that inner passion whenever it comes to the things concerning God and the law. We can ask ourselves, how eager are we when it comes to the things concerning God in our lives. How passionate are we to do what God expects from us in a given situation? We can ask ourselves, how far are we close to God and the church? We are meant to be holy, and this is the secret of holiness; living according to God’s dictates and making God a part of our daily lives.
Who Are You Dedicated To?
The very first place the parents deemed wise to present their child is in the temple, in the presence of God. They know that every fruit of the womb is a gift from God (Psalm 127). Who we are and what we have are of God. We always go to the people and the places we trust. Who are you dedicated to? Where do we take our children to? Those secret places we go searching for miracles and prophecies are not where we came from and will not help us at last. Let us constantly present ourselves before God. It is noteworthy that the presentation is a form of consecration to God who gives the child. Since we belong to Him, let us consecrate and dedicate ourselves to Him.
Simeon and Anna
Luke emphasizes that they have spent a lifetime “looking for the consolation of Israel. Secondly, they were under the guidance of the Holy Spirit who revealed to them who the Messiah is. The Spirit guides them to encounter Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. Like Simeon, Anna is devout, old, and a prophet. They also totally consecrated themselves to God. When we totally consecrate ourselves to God, we live under the guidance and inspirations of the Holy Spirit, we become living instruments of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, these people have been expectantly waiting for God’s promise to come to fulfilment. Who knows how many years they have waited? They did not lose hope, they did not curse God. This is unlike what we see today.
Christians today are very impatient. We expect instant gratification, and hate to be kept waiting. If we know that “anything worth having is worth working for”, let us not forget also that “Anything worth having is worth waiting for.” God works in a time zone where a day is as a thousand years. When our dreams do not come true in a day, we need to keep in mind that God is still at work. We need to pray, not just for the gift, but also for patience to wait for God’s unveiling.
Today, the Holy Family, Anna and Simeon show what true dedication to God is. There is a simple emphasis from them to cling to God in all we do, take God serious and totally consecrate ourselves to Him. The gospel says, Anna is always there. She “didn’t depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and petitions night and day” In this instance, “never left the temple” does not necessarily mean that she slept there, but only that she was constant in her worship at the temple. An advice to all to never leave the presence of God even when the promise seems not coming. Anna and Simeon only knew at the hour the event happened; they know for certain that God does not fail in his promises but when it will happen is left for God. This should be our faith. This should be our longing. Both Simeon and Anna have lived faith-filled, expectant lives. “She was old and she had never ceased to hope, never ceased to worship, never ceased to pray” despite whatever that happens, she was there. This is a life worthy of emulation for all; instead of running away from God, let us still run to God.
The presentation is also a form of thanksgiving, as individuals, we need to make space in our lives to express thanksgiving daily for the blessings we have received, and to praise God for his mercies and to ask God for guidance and forgiveness. May God gives us the grace to learn and live according to the dictates of the gospel. May this week remain blessed Amen.