February 2nd, 2014 – Presentation of the Lord – Year A

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Today’s celebration brings forward several themes that illumine in a particular way the Church’s dedication to building the Culture of Life.

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple emphasizes, for one thing, the fact that he was like us in all things but sin. This child shared the journey each human beings makes through his/her mother’s womb. Jesus was an embryo, a fetus, an unborn child. By assuming all the stages of our human journey, he also redeemed them.

This is closely related to a second key theme: we belong to God. The Presentation is also a declaration: this child is God’s. In Jesus’ case this is true in an even deeper way, because he is God’s only-begotten Son. If he belongs to the Father, so do all of us, and so do the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the oppressed, and the unborn. Human life cannot be owned by other human beings nor by the power of the state. It belongs only to God.

Celebrating the Presentation, therefore, gives each of us the privilege and obligation of proclaiming, celebrating, and serving that gift of life as it is entrusted to the care (not the ownership) of all of us.

And the blessing of candles on this Feast represents the fact that we shine the light of this truth in a dark Culture of Death. The glory of God, which Christ shines forth to the Gentiles, is a glory reflected in every human life, no matter what its condition.