December 29 – 5th Day of Christmas

Luke 2:22-35

The Presentation in the Temple

Today’s gospel passage is about the presentation of the Lord in the Temple by which this gospel, we read this also during the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord this coming February 2. I would like to share with you two things for us to reflect as we listen to the gospel:

First is what St. Luke mentions for several times, the Law. The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph do everything according to the law. Like for example, the Blessed Virgin humbly submits herself for purification forty days after giving birth to her eldest Son, Jesus even if she does not need this. She offers her first Son to God even if there is no need for the Son of God to be presented and offered to God. But she follows the law obediently.

This law was given by Moses to the Jews which ordained that after childbirth a woman should continue, for forty days, in a state of unclean and not to appear in public. The days became double if the child is a girl. At the end of forty days, the mother brought to the Temple a lamb and a young pigeon or turtle-dove, as an offering to God. These were offered to God by the priest to cleanse her of legal impurity and reinstated to her former privileges. A dove was required of all as a sin-offering, whether rich or poor; but as the expense of a lamb might be too great for the poor, these were allowed to substitute for it a second dove. Such was the case, Scripture tells us, for the Holy Family.

The law also required that the first-born son be offered to God. After his presentation the child shall be ransomed with a certain sum of money and specific sacrifices offered on the occasion. Mary complied exactly with all these laws. She obeyed not only in the essential points of the law, but had strict regard to all laws.

We are different from St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, they follow the law to the last details and we are tempted to avoid laws. If we commit unnecessary violation of the laws, we argue immediately if we are going to follow the law or not. You know I am inspired by the example the Holy Family has shown, even if they don’t need to follow the law but they follow it wholeheartedly. I wish we can also.

Second is what Simeon said to the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus is a sign of contradiction. Jesus is a sign of contradiction and He calls His followers to be signs of contradiction too. How true this is for us today. With each passing day the Christian faith appears to be more and more contrary to the ways of our world: the culture of life versus the culture of death, true family values versus hedonistic individualism, relativism versus the truth that will set us free. Following Christ or living as a true Christian is becoming increasingly unpopular and counter-cultural nowadays. Our following of Christ will necessarily cause us to be singled out from among others. The sword will also pierce our own hearts and when that hour comes, it will reveal what is really in our hearts.

If we decide to follow Him faithfully, let us make a clear decision if we are for Christ or against Him. There is no third alternative.

See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

OPTION  01,   02,   03,

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