Let Us Present Ourselves as a Living and Holy Sacrifice to God
Readings: 1st: Mal 3:1-4; Ps 23:7-10; 2nd: Heb 2:14-18; Gos: Lk 2:22-40
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, is the Feast of the presentation of the Lord. It is also, World day of Consecrated Life. As Christ was presented in the temple, today, the holy Mother Church invites us to continuously offer ourselves “as a living, holy and pleasing sacrifice to God…” (Rom 12:1).
In our first reading, Prophet Malachi prepares our minds for the coming of the Lord: “And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter the temple.” This prophecy is fulfilled in both today’s second reading and gospel. One question that suffices today is, when and how do I meet the Lord?
As I reflected on today’s celebration, Jude Nnam’s song came to mind: “What shall I offer to the Lord to make Him happy?” When he comes, he expects us to be strong and holy. Malachi puts it this way: “The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in years of old.” God is ready to come to us. So, we must constantly prepare ourselves to receive him with thanksgiving.
The letter to the Hebrews reminds us that Christ is a faithful high priest. In Fulfilment of the prophecy of Malachi, He entered the temple, presented and sacrificed himself to God for our salvation. To achieve this mission, He had to be like one of us by assuming our nature. He completed His presentation in the temple on the cross: So that by his death, he could take away all the power of the devil…and set free all those who had been held in slavery.” Hence, He entered the temple, both as the priest and the victim.
In today’s gospel, through His presentation, his parents accompanied him to begin his mission in the right place, the temple. However, as an adult, He offered himself publicly on the cross. Through this public presentation and offer of himself, we now participate in his life. The lessons we are to learn from this include that, there is no limit to which we can offer ourselves to God.
Also, today’s gospel reminds us that God is faithful to his promise. This is especially, to those who love and are faithful to him. Malachi’s prophecy was fulfilled in today’s gospel. This is because, Simeon and Anna encountered the Lord in the temple in a way and at a time they least expected: “The Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter the temple.”
They knew about His coming, hoped to meet Him, but they never knew when this would be, until He suddenly appeared in the temple. The both thanked and blessed the Lord for his faithfulness. Truly, “the desire of the righteous shall be granted” (Prov 10:24). Hence, Simeon sang the Nunc dimittis: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace… for my eyes have seen your salvation…”
Finally, today as we commemorate the presentation of the Lord and World day of the Consecrated life, let us pray that we too may continuously present and consecrate ourselves to God as a living and worthy sacrifice for the salvation of humanity. Congratulations to all consecrated Religious men and women of good will all over the world.
Peace be with you!