Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of the presentation of the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is Mary, Theotokos or Mother of God. She was chosen by God from among many of the children of mankind, to be the one who was destined to be the vessel to bear the coming of the Saviour into this world, and in that, to bear the Lord and Master of all the creations Himself, when He was incarnate into flesh.
As our Lord is perfect and perfectly good, without sin and any taint of evil, thus His blessed mother, Mary, was also therefore conceived without the taint of sin, of the original sin of Adam and Eve, the first ancestors of mankind. She was conceived free from sin, immaculate and pure, worthy to be the Mother of our Lord and Saviour, as decreed by God. And today, we celebrate the memory of her presentation at the Temple of the Lord.
In the Jewish custom, as according to the Law of God revealed through Moses, the firstborns of Israel are dedicated to the Lord, through a presentation ceremony, as ceremonially belonging to the Lord. This is a strong reminder of what they had encountered in Egypt, during the time of their liberation from slavery. At that time, God sent ten great plagues to pressure the Pharaoh to liberate the people of Israel and allow them to go back to the land of their ancestors in freedom.
The last of the ten plagues, and the most terrifying of them all, is the death of all the firstborns of the Egyptians, including the firstborn of the Pharaoh himself. No firstborn was spared, and the firstborn of humans and animals of the Egyptians alike were destroyed, for the sins of the Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The firstborn of the people of Israel however, were spared, because of the Lord’s promise to them, and His instruction, that they be presented and offered to Him, and they ever since belonged to the Lord who spared them from the power of the angel of death.
Thus, Mary, who was the firstborn of the couple, Joachim and Anne, whom we know now as St. Joachim and St. Anne, was offered at the Temple of God, according to the Law. Thus from that day of the presentation onwards, Mary was entrusted completely to God, and she remained pure and blameless, as God had intended her to be, as the new Ark of the new Covenant, which was made through Jesus her Son.
Jesus too was presented at the Temple when He was eight days old, in the same manner of His mother Mary, as her firstborn Son. And from this offering of the blameless and pure sacrifice, Christ, who is the Lamb of God, offered Himself to be the One to bear the burdens of the sins of the world, and thus purify us from our sins and allow us to escape the claws of death, which is caused by sin.
The festival of the Jewish Passover, which commemorated the ‘passing over’ of the angel of death over the faithful people of God, who sacrificed a lamb and shed its blood on their doors’ lintels and surfaces, is therefore completed in its perfection through Jesus, the One and True Lamb, whose Blood is shed over all mankind, and therefore those of us who believe and receive His Body and Blood had been marked to be saved, and to be passed over by death, which is the lot of those who are wicked and unfaithful.
Thus, this feast of the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is a reminder for us all, that we who believe in Him and faithfully receive His Body and Blood, had also received grace and salvation through the death and resurrection of our Lord. However, this does not mean that this alone is enough for us to be saved.
When we present something to the Lord, certainly we do not offer something that is wicked, evil, tainted and filled with sin. We ought to offer something that is pure, filled with love and righteousness, with genuine faith and understanding of what that faith is about. Thus, let this day’s celebration be a wake-up call to all of us, so that we may look deep into ourselves and see where we have been faithful, and more importantly, where we have fallen short and where we have failed in our faith.
Let us all follow the example of Mary, the mother of our Lord, whose life is completely and totally devoted to the Lord and His ways, and in all that she did in her life, she did them with complete and full faith in God, knowing that God knows best for His servants and handmaids, and she also acted with love, justice and in accordance with all that the Lord had taught His people.
Mary is our role model, and we should follow her examples. Let us not wait any longer, lest the Lord comes again in surprise, and catch us unprepared. Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, what is at stake, is the salvation of our souls, and whether, on the day of judgment, we will be ‘passed over’ by eternal death and then proceed into eternal life and bliss, or whether we will suffer the penalty of death for sins we have been unrepentant from.
Mary, mother of us all, pray for us all sinners, that we may learn to change our ways, to follow your examples, and therefore we will be able to offer ourselves anew and refreshed, pure and freed from the taints of sin. Pray for us that we may do our best to distance ourselves from sin and all things wicked in the sight of God. May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, bring us to eternal life. Amen.
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