March 13, 2012 |

Grace: For an intimate knowledge of our Lord Jesus who offered Himself to us so that we might know how to offer ourselves to Him.

Prelude: Journey to Jerusalem with the Holy Family.  Listen to their conversations.  Eat with them.  Hold the Child for Mary every once in a while.  Watch as Mary and Joseph dedicate their Son to God with care and devotion.  Our first baby boy, He’s Yours, Lord! How do they respond to Simeon’s comment and Anna’s excitement?

Text for Prayer: Lk. 2:21-38

Reflection: Since we have reached the midway point of the Lenten season, let’s recall all the little (or big) sacrifices we have made so far.  This meditation on the Presentation puts into perspective the meaning of “giving something up.”  Joseph and Mary, after risking their lives to preserve the life of Jesus, did not claim Him for themselves, but dedicated this Gift to the original gift Giver.

Giving back to God what He gave to us sounds a bit odd, but it’s not the same thing as going to customer service to make an exchange for damaged or inadequate merchandise.  After the Presentation, Mary and Joseph return home with the same Gift, and their responsibility for Him has not changed. A sword will still pierce Mary’s heart (soul).  Things are not going to get easier, but in offering up their firstborn Son, the center of their lives, the best of all that they have, they become even more disposed to offer up whatever God asks of them.

Beholding God’s Gift of Himself, Mary and Joseph acknowledge that it is beyond their capacity to match God’s love and generosity. Recognizing our inability to give as God gives, what better way to give thanks than to dedicate what we receive to the greater service and praise of the Giver (yes, back to the Principle and Foundation again!)?  In offering to God the goodness that He offers to us, we make a commitment to use our gifts as He intended.  In doing so, the original gifts we receive will bare much fruit for ourselves and those around us.

 What can I offer the LORD for all He has done for me?               –Ps. 116:12

As we prepare to renew our baptismal promises at Easter, let’s pray over that formula by which we were in a sense “presented at the Temple.”  For what purpose were we offered up?  And for what purpose do we make our offerings (of works and mercy)?

Renewal of Baptismal Promises

V. Do you reject Satan?
R. I do.
V. And all his works?
R. I do.
V. And all his empty promises?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
R. I do.

V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
R. I do.

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
R. I do.

V. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever.

R. Amen.

 

March 13th, 2012 | |