Fri, 1 February 2019
(Mal.3:1-4; Ps.24:7-10; Heb.2:14-18; Lk.2:22-40)
“Suddenly there will come to the temple
the Lord whom you seek.”
“And He will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.” “To expiate the sins of the people” He has come – to bring us light. But to do this “He had to become like His brothers and sisters in every way”; He had to “share in blood and flesh” with us, and so share in our death, to overcome death and make us holy in the sight of God, that our lives might be like His: a true sacrifice to the Lord.
Hear in our gospel how many times is stated that when “Mary and Joseph [take] Jesus up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord” this is done “just as it is written in the law of the Lord.” Because it says, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” His parents do so “in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.” They “brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to Him”; they “fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord” before returning to Galilee to raise Him. Of what significance is this in this day and age when so many place themselves above the need to be obedient to the dictates of the Church and the Holy Spirit which speaks through her. Though the Lord Himself did all according to the way it is written, so many find no necessity for themselves to go to church on Sunday, to confess their sins, to give their tithe… and on. In their minds they need no “religion” to follow. Let them learn from the Lord and His obedience, and His humility, in the place where God is found.
And see what happens when this humble Child allows Himself to be brought into the temple of the Lord: light comes to His people. Simeon the prophet proclaims in joy, “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples,” and declares his readiness for death. Anna the prophetess gives thanks to God and speaks “about the child to all who [are] awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.” It is not to a street corner He comes to bring salvation; it is to the temple. There we await Him. There we find Him, in His Father’s house.
Finally, we must relate the pain His coming brings. Though leading to glory, for us as well as for Him, the performance of the Father’s will in all things is not easy. As “a sword will pierce” the Mother’s heart, so in our purgation, in our persecution as we turn from the darkness of this world to be purified for the next, there shall be suffering. But this suffering does lead to life. But our waiting shall be answered. The light is powerful that comes when we “lift up” the gates of our hearts “that the king of glory may come in,” but in Him we find all our hearts need. His is a perfect sacrifice.
Written, read & chanted by James Kurt; produced by Roger Fortney.
Music by Roger Fortney; used by permission.
O LORD, your Son has come into our midst
and united Himself to us;
may we be united to Him and become as your Temple.
YHWH, in the purification of your Son, we are purified. By His sacrifice, our sacrifice is made acceptable to you. Thank you for presenting Him to us this day, that indeed we might be saved, that indeed as He has become flesh and blood for us, we may become as His flesh and blood and be a holy offering to you.
O LORD, we must be purified if we are to come into your Temple, if we are to become as your Temple, according to your desire. And so let us be obedient to your Word, let us welcome Jesus into our hearts, that He might cleanse our troubled souls from any fear of death, that by His presence we might be refined for the kingdom of Heaven.
He is our hope. He is our joy. He is our very life, O LORD; let us remain faithful to His Cross. As the sword pierces our own hearts, let us be purged of sin that with Simeon and Anna we might rejoice in the light of your presence.