Feb. 2, 2020 - Presentation of the Lord
(Mal 3:1-4; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-40)
Malachi is one of the last of the Hebrew prophets and means “my messenger.” Malachi urges righteous behavior in the present time. Both the one who goes before and the One who comes after are referred to as a “messenger.” St. John the Baptist is the first messenger of the “messenger of the covenant, which John foretells and which Jesus fulfills. Our experience of faith often includes refinement in the fires of temptation, and the moral purification from sin that is like the lye applied to cleanse and whiten wool. Once tried and tested and so refined, we can shine like silver or gold before those who need a testimony as to the eternal value of life in Christ. The Psalm urges us to lift up our gates, our entrances so the King of Glory may enter. In Hebrews we learn that Jesus himself was tested and suffered to win the possibility of our own purification. In so doing, he unites himself directly with each one of us. He comes down from the divine rest to enter our human restlessness. Embedded, as we are, in the realm of matter and change, we are subject to constant change – the change of incline, of growth, as well as the change of decline, or death. Jesus makes the decline into death, a ladder to life. Death is made the doorway to life unending. Jesus is the source of life beyond death. In the temple Mary doesn’t just give the gift of a mother’s love and gratitude to God for her son; we are presented with the Gift of God’s own Son to Mary and through her to all of her children, all of us. In Luke we begin with a couple entering the Temple and approaching the small altar where the offerings of the poor are made. As Mary and Joseph present the child to the Lord, they simultaneously present him to the world. Simeon and Anna were blessed with their desire to see the Christ of the Lord and Jerusalem’s redemption. And in that moment we learn that the One that Mary and Joseph ransom for a pair of birds, has in fact, ransomed us all.