Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The Jewish people “presented” their children to the Lord in the temple shortly after their birth. In the first reading from Malachi 3, the Lord says, “And suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek.” And in the second reading from Hebrews 3, it says that “[Jesus] had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way.” And so He did. Coming into the world as a Jewish baby boy, He was presented to the Lord in the temple.
The Gospel reading from Luke 2 gives a moving account of this event. Please take the time to read it. You will be moved by the words of Simeon. Basically, the Jewish parents were saying to God, “Lord, this child belongs to you. Do with him as you please. Give us the grace to raise him up in your ways.” Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus in the temple is very similar to when we, as Catholics, baptize our children.
Luke’s 2:23 quotes Exodus 13:2, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord.” When we baptize our children, this is what we are doing. Consecrating them to the Lord. Setting them apart for the holy purpose for which God has chosen them. Unfortunately, we all too soon (or perhaps from the beginning) forget this notion. We want our kids to be happy and successful. And there is nothing wrong with that. But do we want for them more than anything else God’s will? And are we willing to sacrifice everything to help them achieve God’s will for their lives? Or are we only willing to what will help them achieve OUR will for their lives? Lastly, let’s remember that this notion of consecrating our children to the Lord is not a one-time deal. We must do it every day.
Father, we give our children to you fully and completely. Help us to be selfless guides, that we might help you accomplish your will for their lives. Amen.