Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Presentation of the Lord

(Malachi 3:1-4; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-32)

The world as just witnessed a great transition of power.  Donald Trump has moved into the White House as the forty-fifth president of the United States.  There has been no shortage of fanfare.  For better or worse, President Trump is now recognized by people around the globe.  Today’s first reading hints that Jesus’ coming into the temple would attract similar attention.  The reality, however, was something subdued, much like how he rules the world now.

The prophet Malachi speaks of the day of the Lord as one of reckoning.  God’s messenger will occupy the Jewish temple like a field general moves his headquarters into a well-situated building.  From it he will direct the campaign vindicating those who have lived righteously.  But when Jesus, God’s definitive emissary, comes into the temple, hardly anyone notices.  He is only an infant; however two elders recognize in his countenance the long-awaited Messiah.  Jesus will live and die for others without great masses of people taking notice.  But after his resurrection from the dead his disciples will tell the world of his legacy.  He will become, as one of the elders predicts, “’a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for … Israel.’”

We wonder why God does not reveal Himself with power.  We think that if Christ would come now to defeat evil, then all would turn to him in faith.  But, of course, that is not faith only instinct for survival by siding with the strong.  God desires to purify our wills by teaching us trust and love.  When we use our energy to care for others trusting that God will reward us, we become like Christ.  We need not worry about losing our lives because to become like Christ is what life is all about.

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