Monday, 21 November 2022 : 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 as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded of the faith and the obedience of Mary, as the Mother of Our Lord, Saviour and God, Jesus Christ. Today the Church marks the occasion of the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is apt therefore for us to reflect upon the life and the works of Mary, whose examples and faith in God should be our source of inspiration and strength in following the Lord, in being faithful and committed to Him all the days of our lives. Each and every one of us as Christians should look up upon our beloved Mother Mary, as the role model and shining beacon of God’s light who have shown us the way towards the salvation in her Son, Our Lord, God and Master.

Mary was presented at the Temple of Jerusalem, the House of God as was common at that time. According to the Law of God, as revealed through Moses, the firstborn child of any family ought to be offered and consecrated to God, and in that manner therefore, the parents of Mary, St. Joachim and St. Anne both dedicated Mary to the Lord at His House as prescribed by the Law. According to some tradition, Mary was also descended from the priestly tribe of Levi, and it was therefore even more significant as members of the tribe of Levi had been dedicated to God to be the priests and servants of the Lord. While it was not definitive whether Mary was descended from either the tribe of Judah or Levi through her parents, but what is clear and certain is that she has truly been dedicated and committed to God for the missions entrusted to her.

Mary has been prepared specially by the Lord, through the singular grace He has granted her, that she was conceived free from the taints of the original sin that have tainted all the rest of us mankind. God hallowed her such, so that through her sanctity and purity, through her Immaculate Conception and perfect state of grace, she may truly become a most worthy Ark of the Covenant, the New Ark for the New Covenant that God wanted to make and establish with all of us, His beloved people, children and flock. The Lord has prepared her to bear the Saviour of the world, the very Word of God incarnate in the flesh, descending into this world and into our midst, and to bear Him within her, Mary indeed has to be worthy, and compared to the old Ark, truly, we can see how God had prepared everything for this.

In the Old Testament, as the Lord told Moses to make the Ark of the Covenant, the original Ark bearing the two tablets of the Law of God, the Ten Commandments, as well as the manna and the staff of Aaron, God ordered His people to make the Ark from the most precious of materials, from gold and the finest goods of the world, and it was hallowed, blessed and sanctified as such that, no one was allowed to touch the Ark of the Covenant. When a priest accidentally touched the Ark during the time of king David and his effort to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, the priest was struck dead immediately after he touched the Ark. The Ark of the Covenant was indeed so holy because God’s Holy Presence rested and dwelled in it, seated upon the Cherubim carved atop the Ark.

That Ark was placed at the Holy of Holies of the Tent of Meeting and later on the Temple of Jerusalem, into which only the High Priest was allowed to enter, and even that, only in one occasion throughout the entire year. That was just how sacrosanct the old Ark was, and that was made by mere human hands. How it relates to Mary is that, in Mary, whom God herself made and crafted by His hands, she was entrusted with the Lord Himself, present in the flesh, in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, that her Son, in her womb and born from her, was truly the Holy Presence of God in the flesh, tangible and manifested perfectly in this world. And as such, she is the worthy Ark of the New Covenant, the Covenant that God would establish through Christ His Son, as she is truly full of grace, free from the taints of sin and evil.

What does it mean by Mary being full of grace, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that Mary obeyed the Lord and loved Him so much and so perfectly, that she could not even contemplate the thought of disobeying Him. It was through such disobedience that sin entered into our midst, and that sin began to corrupt our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. Whereas Mary devoted herself so thoroughly to God and obeyed Him, just as she responded to the Archangel Gabriel at the moment of the Annunciation, ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Your will.’ She showed us all therefore what it means to be a true disciple and follower of our Lord, as each one of us are called to embrace His path, His Law and commandments, and be faithful in Him, in a most genuine and sincere way as Mary herself has done.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we gather together today to celebrate this Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us all therefore look upon Mary, the Mother of God and our mother as our role model and examples in life, as our guide and help in our journey of faith towards God. And we also should know just how much Mary loves us all as well, because even after she has been assumed into Heaven by her Son’s grace, she still looked upon us and cared for us, as proven by her many apparitions and efforts through those and more to reach out to us and to help us find our way out of the darkness and back into the light of Christ. All of us as Christians should strive to renew our faith and dedicate ourselves all the more to the Lord, spending more time and effort to love Him, and to follow Him wholeheartedly in the way that Mary herself had done.

May our beloved mother Mary continue to watch over us and inspire us by her life, her dedication and commitment to God. May she continue to intercede and pray for our sake, we sinners who have often betrayed and hurt her Son. May all of us be shown mercy and forgiveness, and may we all draw ever closer to God, to His love and grace, now and always, and may He continue to bless us all and remain with us, forevermore. Amen.

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