We remember today the day when our Lord Jesus, the firstborn son of Mary and Joseph, was presented at the Temple of Jerusalem to the Lord, just as the Lord commanded to the people through the Law. Christ is our High Priest, who offered Himself up to God, as a worthy offering for our sins, which is done once and for all at the cross, for our complete redemption and freedom from sin and death. However, earlier in His life, just days after His birth, Jesus was offered as the firstborn son, just like all other firstborn sons of the Israelites. Why is this so?
This is because, at the time when the people of Israel was still enslaved in Egypt under the rule of the Pharaoh, God sent Moses as His messenger to the Pharaoh to free His people and let them go to the Promised Land. The Pharaoh hardened his heart and punished the people of Israel because of what Moses told him of the Lord’s will. What happened next? The Lord sent ten plagues to punish Egypt for their treatment of His beloved and chosen people. The last of all plagues saw the death of all Egyptian firstborn sons, while the firstborn sons of the people of Israel were saved. The mark of the blood of the lamb eaten at Passover, which was applied to the door, became the symbol of salvation of the people of Israel.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, the High Priest, offered Himself as the Lamb of sacrifice, similar to the time of the Passover. His blood became the mark of salvation for all of us who believe in Him. Death and evil will have no more power over us, if we are saved by the blood of the Lamb of God. As the lamb for the Passover ought to be a young lamb, unblemished and perfect in appearance, so does when Jesus was presented at the Temple, Jesus was chosen to be that Lamb, the Lamb of God. For who else is worthy other than the Son of God Himself, who willed to come down and became human just as we are, that through His offering of Himself as the Lamb, He freed us from the chain of death. Just as Pharaoh refused to release the people of Israel from slavery and hard work, neither did Satan want to release us from the slavery of sin, which had subjected all humankind since the disobedience of Adam and his wife, Eve. But the Lord, in sending His Son to us, is sending Satan a plague and disaster far greater than that of the ten plagues of Egypt.
For through the offering of Himself, Jesus presented Himself as the worthy sacrifice, that released now not just the people of Israel, but also all mankind, and now not just to go to the Promised Land on earth, but now we are indeed free to embark on our way towards the Promised Land on heaven itself, with God as our Lord, while the old sacrifice did not free us from death, and the Promised Land of Israel as the Bible shows, is full of conflicts and destruction, especially when Israel disobeyed the Lord and turned their back on Him, preferring the pagan gods for worship instead of the Lord who had delivered them from the Egyptians; but now we have the Sacrifice, which we celebrate regularly through the Mass, when the Lord gave us His Precious Body and His Precious Blood, that we are in Him, and He in us, that all of us, are worthy of eternal life, and worthy of the Kingdom of God, where there is no more violence, no more death, and no more suffering.
Today, on this feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we especially pray for our priests, for all the bishops, and the cardinals, and our Pope, Benedict XVI. For today is the day most appropriate for prayer for all those who has given themselves to God, who has been consecrated to God, just like the firstborns of Israel, and just like Jesus Himself. For they have given themselves fully to God, embracing in full the depth of the love of God, and embracing His Church as their bride. For priests and all consecrated to God have dedicated themselves truly to God, just as Christ was, and they represent Christ Himself, or in persona Christi. It is through them, and through the divine authority given to them from the Lord, through the Apostles, and all the bishops of all ages, that in the Holy Mass, we have the very Sacrifice that the Lord made on the cross in Calvary.
For through our priests, the Lord gives us His Precious Body and Blood, turned from the bread and wine, for us to receive Him, that we also take part in our Lord’s Sacrifice, that freed us from all the chains of sin. No more will evil and Satan has any power over us. Therefore, today, let us fervently pray for all those consecrated to God, that they will stay faithful, and they will keep themselves holy and pure, to be worthy to God just as Christ, the perfect sacrifice and the Lamb of God once was. May God bless all our priests, and bless His Holy Church, with all of us His children. Amen.