Grace to you!
I love Church liturgical feast days. Through them, I appreciate more and more the blessings of divine providence. Feast days are special to me. In them, I find a little of the heavenly blessings in store for us. I also see a bit of what I could become by God's grace.
Today, in our Catholic tradition, we celebrate the feast of the presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem. It was a usual Jewish ritual whereby parents present their first male child to the Lord. In reality, based on this Old Testament ritual, all first male animals were required to be offered to the Lord as the first fruit of the womb. It follows specific guidelines prescribed in the Law of Moses (see Exodus 13:12-15; Leviticus 12:1-8).
This ritual took on a foreshadowing tone. The prophecy of Malachi 3:1-4 captures this reality as it finds its fulfillment in Christ. "The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple" (Mal 3:1). In Christ, God has come to his temple. He has come not merely to the human-made temple, but to the living hearts and souls he has made for his own.
The Gospel of Luke gives us some details about the joy and excitement of those who witnessed the parents of Jesus, present him to the temple. The devout and righteous Simeon exclaimed in delight. He said a beautiful prayer, the Canticle of Simeon, also known as the Nunc Dimittis. "Now, Lord, let your servant depart" (Lk 2:29-32). Anna, the prophetess, and widow, who spent most of her days praying in the temple, also praised God who has come to his temple (Lk 2:36-38). These two, male and female—the priest and the holy woman who served in the temple—testified that the Messiah has finally come in his temple.
God’s true and living temple is you. We are the home God made to dwell. The Lord comes not to sit on the woods of our churches or the marbles of our chapels. The Lord's house is our hearts. How about a situation where we welcome God into his temple, which is you? How about a situation where every part of our body, heart, and soul come alive because we have allowed the life of God to animate us? How about we make our entire being a welcome home for the Lord through the enduring consent of our will? How about God taking full possession of us?
How about a situation where our emotions, passions, and sentiments are a resounding yes to the Lord, our Maker? Such a situation could be what the presentation of the Lord in the Jerusalem temple over 2000 years ago represents for the individual. Then we will be beaming with that light, which lights up the darkness in the world and the hearts of many.
There is one more spiritual way to look at it. How about allowing the Lord who lives in us to have his way in our lives? As a result, we think what God thinks, walk in his footsteps, and become his voice for others to hear and be saved. God, who is light, illumines us, so we shine the light for everyone to see. Nothing is as blessed as living the life of God. That is, Christ lives in us, and we are, totally, the Lord's.
May I ask: Is God the owner of your heart? Or rather, are you offering your life back to the Lord, who is the owner of this temple? How much control of your life and affairs have you surrendered to God? Or, are you afraid or hesitant to do so? There is liberating joy in letting God be in charge. It doesn't restrict your freedom. It is the purest freedom indeed.
Praying for the grace of true devotion and surrender to the will of God. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: Mal 3: 1-4; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-40 or 22-32]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.