November 21, 2020 – Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/112120.cfm)
This celebration of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary has no historical basis. This cannot be found even in the Gospel or in any letters of the New Testament. However, the Church has celebrated for more than a thousand years. There must be something so important and significant in this feast of Mary that moves us to celebrate it year after year.
This tradition can actually be found in the unofficial scripture called as the Protoevangelium of James. Though this feast is not a historical event, but this is spiritually and theologically important for us. According to that scripture of James, the parents of Mary, Joachim and Anne offered their daughter to God in the Temple at the age of 3 years old. The action of Joachim and Anne was an expression of their gratitude to the Lord. This old couple who was given a daughter in their old age, offered back to God the very gift that they have received from God. The shame of having no child, as it was believed at that time, turned into joy at the birth of Mary.
Certainly, this joy moved them to give. This was out of deep gratitude to the generosity and faithfulness of God in their life as husband and wife. This sacrifice and offering became the way in the consecration of the life of Mary to God. At a very young age, Mary became aware of God’s presence in her life which she first realized in the life of her parents. This tells us now how God transforms a sacrifice into something wonderful and beautiful. The life of Mary, became the beauty and the wonder that the world longed to see. Indeed, through Mary, a child was born for us, the Emmanuel. Through the life of Mary given to God, life was also given to us, through Jesus.
This, feast then, actually prepares us to celebrate wonderfully the Solemnity of Her Immaculate Conception and the Birth of her Son, Jesus. That is why, this feast is so significant to us. What we honor after all, is God who consecrated the life of Mary and from whom we too are being blessed.
Through this feast, we are reminded today that life is not about accumulating things or securing something for oneself. Life and living life is to be able to give life which Joachim and Anne did and which Mary did and ultimately which Jesus did to us.
This is contrary to what the Pharisees and teachers of the law wanted to happen. They were so concerned on what they could get from others in this life. That is why, they asked a malicious question to Jesus, to trick him and embarrass him. Yet, Jesus knew their hearts. They were filled with malice and selfish desires. This attitude reflected in the very situation they presented to Jesus, of a woman marrying the seven brothers when one after another died without having any child.
Today on this feast of Mary, as we live life day by day, be more life-giving.
Thus, as husband and wife, give back to God your marriage life and make God the very center of your marriage so that you will be able to give life to your children and to the community around you. As a family, give to God your joys even your sacrifices and pains so that God can transform you into blessing to others. As a professional, give to God your work, your passion and even your and failures so that God will bless you to be an inspiration to your co-workers. As a young person and as a student, give to God your struggles, your dreams, hopes and even your fears and anxieties of the future so that you become an influencer of confidence and trust in God. As a senior citizen, offer to God your good old days, including your good and bad memories, offer your routine and even your illness and uncertainties in life so that you become a witness of God’s faithfulness and generosity. Hinaut pa.