The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
Feb 9, 2017
The Presentation of Jesus in the temple: Contemplate this scene from God’s perspective. The Son, now in human history, enters the Temple for the first time. The Son enters the house of the Father. He, the perfect Lamb for whom no earthly sanctuary is holy enough, accepts to be consecrated in this place built by men, this place that was dedicated to the memory of the signs that were all in expectation of him. The True Lamb arrives at last to the place of offering. The Temple was above all a place of sacrifice in order to gain God’s favor. It was a place of expiation to free oneself of the inheritance of sin, and a place of prayer to offer fitting honor and praise to the one true God. And here, on this day, in the arms of Mary, comes the only sacrifice that counts, for without him no other sacrifice has meaning, whether in sacred rituals or in our personal lives.
Contemplate this scene through the heart of Mary. In the simple rite of consecration; the Son is going to recognize his belonging to the Father, but he will do it through Mary’s fidelity to the prescribed ritual. Can anyone speak for the zeal of his heart, the hunger of his heart to suffer for souls? Mary’s pure and humble heart emerges as his spokesperson, and it speaks the language of self-giving and donation, though under the rituals prescribed by the law. “For their sake I consecrate myself.” She reflects to the world what has been communicated to her by her Son, who is flesh of her flesh. In our ordinary life we elevate the meaning of small events in union with Christ. Flesh of our flesh by grace, he enables us to live a consecration to a mission in his name. Our acts are made from the power of Christ’s living presence moving our heart and will.
3. “A sword shall pierce your heart…” Now contemplate the true temple of Christ’s body on the Cross, where every consecration is made perfect. Yes, Christ gives us the privilege to speak the words that echo from his heart. Over time he perfects this language in us, if we are faithful to the cross in our life. My own baptismal consecration is all about speaking from what is in the heart of Christ, so that his words ‘pierce my own heart’ and replace that heart of stone with a new heart. I seek to speak like Christ––chaste, poor, and obedient––with a language forged and pounded into full authenticity at the Cross. My death to sin and egoism will call forth the risen life of the new man of the Kingdom––possible only through the fire of the Spirit that flows from the open side of Christ.
Fr. Cory Rohlfing