Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
The feast of the presentation of the Lord recalls the act of thanksgiving by Mary and Joseph in the Jerusalem temple. This presentation event takes place in the context of three ancient ceremonies which every Jewish boy had to undergo. 1. Circumcision. 2. The Redemption of the first -born. 3. The Purification after childbirth. Though these three ceremonies are strange to our culture, they are based on the conviction that life is a gift of God.
Perhaps this leads us to the point where we can reflect on the dignity of life and the threatening culture of death. The increasing bioethical crisis, humanitarian concerns like poverty, hunger, and deprivation, and crimes against human dignity are some of the painful realities where God’s gift of life is undervalued.
The ceremony of redeeming Jesus(first-born) by making a poor offering in the temple is an anticipation of the redeeming act of Jesus himself on the cross later in his life. This is also echoed in the prophecy of Simeon, “…he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
1 Corinthians 6: 20 speaks to us about Jesus redeeming us and making us his own with his precious blood. This act of redemption through the Passion of Christ was central to the heart of St. Paul of the Cross. Never to forget this precious act of love is to glorify God who offered his life to honour our lives.
May this feast of the presentation of the Lord obtain us the grace to value life and to value the one who paid dearly on the cross.
Justin Durai Raj CP is a member of the Passionist community at St.Paul, Glen Osmond, SA.