Monday, 21 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, remembering and commemorating the moment when the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was presented to God at the Temple after she was born, much as her Son Jesus, her Firstborn Son was presented to God.

It is likely that she is the firstborn child of her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. The practice of the offering of the Firstborn has deep roots in the history of our salvation, from the time of the Exodus, when the people of Israel were saved and brought out from their slavery in Egypt. At that time, the Lord showed His might to the Egyptians and their Pharaoh, who refused to let the Israelites go, raining down ten great plagues upon them.

It was the final plague that finally caused the Pharaoh to relent and let the people of God go, when he planned destruction on God’s people by seeking to kill all the firstborns of Israel. But God turned that around into triumph for His people by instead destroying the firstborns of Egypt including the firstborn of Pharaoh. Thus the offering of the firstborn children to God is a reminder of this great and eminent goodness of our Lord for His people.

And at the same time, it is also a reminder of how God saved His beloved creations, His firstborn ones from the assault by Satan and all of his fallen allies, as they sought to bring about our downfall by causing us to be tempted and fall into sin. And that was how Satan brought down Adam and Eve, our first ancestors. But God did not forget about us, and He still loved us, as shown in how He made a promise to them, that He will deliver them from all the ruination that Satan had caused.

And He foretold that a Woman will come to crush Satan and all of his spawns, to be the sign for the ultimate defeat of the evil one which God had foretold from the very beginning. And that woman was again mentioned by the prophet Isaiah, who foretold of the coming of the Messiah through the same woman. And that woman is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the one who bore the Saviour of the world, Jesus into this world.

If Jesus was presented to the Lord as the Saviour of all, worthy and unblemished, then His mother Mary, who was also conceived without the taint of sin, the Virgin of Immaculate Conception, was presented to the Lord as the worthy and blessed Ark to contain the New Covenant which God was making with His people in Jesus Christ. Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, through which God made into reality the salvation He promised to us mankind.

And Mary is our role model, our greatest intercessor before God, whose actions and dedication to God is rivalled by none. She gave her whole life to God, and she dutifully carried out what had been entrusted to her as the Mother of God and our Saviour. In the Gospel today, we may mistook the idea that Jesus was being rude to His mother if we do not understand what He was actually trying to say. He did not go out to meet His mother and brothers who were waiting for Him, and instead saying to the people He was teaching who are His mother and brothers.

But Jesus was in fact saying that, be like His mother in all things, so that they will be worthy to be called sons and daughters of God. Therefore today, let us all model ourselves after Mary in her great obedience to the will of God, her willingness to have God leading her on the way to salvation, and her commitment without end, even unto following and witnessing her own Son’s death on the cross.

Let us be inspired by her actions and examples, and let us all also ask for her to intercede for our sake, that she will beseech for our sake, we who are sinners, that God her Son will show us His kind mercy and love. O Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us now and to the end of our lives. Amen.

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