Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
(I Maccabees 2:15-29; Luke 19:41-44)
Every city has its landmark. In New York it is the Statue of Liberty. In Rome St. Peter’s Basilica stands out. In Jerusalem of antiquity the Temple loomed in importance. The Temple monumentalized the Jewish faith. There the people worshiped and offered sacrifice. Because money was exchanged in making sacrifices, the Temple had economic significance. Today’s gospel and feast have the Temple as a common reference.
In the gospel Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem. His saying that “they will not leave one stone upon another” applies particularly to the Temple. In 70 A.D. the Romans dismantled its magnificent structure. Jesus’ weeps for good reason. Many of his countrymen will be killed. Terrible as well, this symbol and facilitator of Israel’s faith will be lost.
Ancient and often exaggerated stories of Jesus are told in the so-called apocryphal gospels. Although they cannot be considered the inspired word of God, they often support Christian faith. At least two of these “gospels” give background information by telling of the infancy of Mary. They testify that Mary’s parents brought her to the Temple when she was three. They left her there as their offering to the Lord. Mary, according to the story, was neither unaware nor afraid of what was going on. Rather she ran up the Temple stairs without looking back. Here Mary serves as a model for all of us. May we be as eager to serve the Lord as this child!