WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Just as the Blessed Virgin Mary was prepared to give the gift of her life back to God in the temple by meditating on the Word of God and participation in the temple liturgy, we are prepared in a most excellent way to give our gifts back to God by the Word of God and by participation in the Sacred Liturgy of the Church, especially the Most Holy Eucharist, which is the source, summit, and center, of all the gifts that we have been given.
HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - Today is the memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which, by an ancient custom, we celebrate the mystery that the Blessed Virgin Mary was marvelously prepared to receive the coming of Jesus Christ by being presented to God in the temple by her parents at a very young age to hasten the coming of the Messiah.
This feast happens every year immediately before Advent, an entire season when we focus on preparing the way for the Lord. The last two weeks of the Church's year the readings and liturgy are all about the final coming of God to consummate the ages with God's final victory over evil and judgment over all mankind. The readings for today reveal this.
The first reading, taken from the book of Revelation, or the Apocalypse, speak about the vision of God in heaven, where all will prostrate themselves before the majesty and sovereignty of the Lord.
Throughout the Church's year we do not look at Jesus as the Just Judge, the perfect and all-holy One. We look at him rather as the Crucified One, the meek and persecuted Lord, who comes to us in gentleness and in peace, knocking quietly at the door of our hearts.
These last two weeks of the Church's year, however, we see his power, might, authority, and elevation over all, to remind us that the time will come when we will all have to render an account to the one who scrutinizes all our actions.
The Gospel also speaks about the Second Coming of Christ. It is a parable that shows that the master has gone away but will return and expect an accounting of the gifts that he has generously given.
We hear from the Lord Jesus those exacting words, "to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." This means that we cannot allow the gifts of God to sit on the shelf but must act and bring about a return for what has been given.
If you hear these words with faith, the normal reaction is to have your knees knock a little bit, to have a little holy fear, and to ask the question, "What am I doing for God, and what gifts has he given me that he will expect a return?"
No human person has been given more than the Blessed Virgin Mary. She, unlike every other human person, was conceived without original sin.
Great wisdom is given to us when we ponder how then she was prepared to give this gift back to God. Just as the Blessed Virgin Mary was prepared to give the gift of her life back to God in the temple by meditating on the Word of God and participation in the temple liturgy, we are prepared in a most excellent way to give our gifts back to God by the Word of God and by participation in the Sacred Liturgy of the Church, especially the Most Holy Eucharist, which is the source, summit, and center, of all the gifts that we have been given.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us (1324), "The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch." The Eucharist not only is the source and summit of all gifts, but THE greatest gift we can receive. It is safe therefore to assume, that if you go to mass frequently and participate devoutly in the mystery, you have been richly endowed with the greatest gift possible on earth - receiving God himself.
Make you tremble even more?
Yep it is a bit scary knowing that your faith makes you more accountable, but be not afraid! God would never give you this gift without helping you to make it fruitful. The best way to give this gift back to God is through the prayers, intercession, and motherly mediation of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
Just as she was presented to God in the temple by her parents to prepare her for giving Christ to the world, so too, the Blessed Virgin Mary presents you in the Church to God to give the gift of your life back to him.
May her prayers and intercession help us to respond generously to the call of the Lord that on that great and terrible day of reckoning we may be able to offer a good accounting of our gifts.
Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and is currently based in Hythe, Kent, United Kingdom. He is a speaks to groups around the world on Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Visit his homily blog http://medleyminute.blogspot.com or his blog on sexual ethics http://loveandresponsibility.org
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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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