Monday, February 2, 2009

The Presentation of our Lord & Purification of Mary

Today is the church's feast day of the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of our Lord. It comes after the transfiguration as Christ is revealed to be the new and greater Moses who leads God's people through the exodus - crossing the Red Sea - through Christ's Red Sea of blood - drowning Pharoah - the old evil foe Satan - sin, death and hell.

Today's feast day commemorates Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus to Jerusalem, offering the proper sacrifice of turtle doves or two young pigeons. It was revealed to Simeon by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death befoe he had seen our Christ - Jesus. He took the the child Christ and praised God and as we sing in the Nunc Dimittis, "Lord, now lettest though thy servant depart in peace according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel."

We sing with Simeon because God has made his incarnation into flesh to be seen in the presence of all people for salvation and the glory of heaven. For all flesh shall see the salvation of God in the forgiveness of sins. The logic of God's mysterious incarnation and Simeon's song is that the sinner with the eyes of faith no longer sees creation with a guilt stricken and anxious heart. The incarnation and presentation of our Lord by our blessed Lady shows that Christ comes descending on clouds into our crooked, rough, and cursed paths to make all straight and smooth. The great exodus to Jerusalem and payment for all sin does not deliver saints from the valley of tears but rather fufills those tears with his Holy Passion and waters of baptism, and dismisses us back to our families and friends so that we may offer our sacrifices in their holy temples - their homes - their bodies - helping them in every physical need. For God does not need our love but rather creates it - and moves us to love our neighbor that we might rightfully worship and trust in God above all things. With Simeon the Lord dismisses us in peace, to return to a world which God still calls "good" - a world which he delights in being present - present as innocent and blessed child - present as teacher - present as high priest - a sacrificial lamb - holy meal and blessed Gospel - present as brother - as Christ - as Savior - as living Lord who continually meets his people from font to grave and through the heavens.

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