Mass Reading & Meditation for December 29, 2012
Meditation: Luke 2:22-35
5th Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord
“They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” (Luke 2:22)
Why did Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple? The reason stretches back to the original Passover. God had told the Israelites to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts so that their firstborn sons would be spared from the plague that was going to hit Egypt. From then on, all firstborn children had to be consecrated to the Lord (Exodus 13:2). The offering of a lamb—or a turtledove or pigeon for the poor—was given to “redeem” the child, to spare him from evil.
Of course, we may protest that Jesus didn’t need to be redeemed. He is the Lamb who redeemed all of us! But true to a lamb’s nature, that redemption was accomplished by submission—submission to his Father’s will. And God’s will included being taken to the Temple, to be presented to his heavenly Father! So the consecration of Jesus was more than symbolic. It was the beginning of a life totally given to God, a life dedicated completely to glorifying the Father.
Think about the Presentation when you go to Mass this weekend. As you see the priest consecrate the host, think about what he is doing—offering Jesus to the Father. Joseph and Mary offered Jesus as a helpless infant. But now he appears even more helpless, in the form of a mere wafer of bread. But like Mary and Joseph, we know how much power, love, and grace are contained in that small host: enough to cover the sins of the whole world! Enough to make every one of us children of God!
If you have time, you may want to arrive early to Mass and pray about what you will offer to God today. It might seem very small in comparison to Jesus’ offering of his whole life. But whatever it is, that offering will become something greater than anyone could ever expect. Your gift to the Lord, united in prayer to his own sacrifice, will bring him great glory, and bear witness to his name. As Jesus said, a grain of wheat is just a seed, “but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24).
“Lord, I offer you my life. All my dreams, plans, hopes, and fears are yours. Give me the faith to follow you today, knowing that you will work all things together for my good.”
1 John 2:3-11; Psalm 96:1-3, 5-6