Monday, February 3, 2014
Presented to God
Women of Faith:
Yesterday was the Feast of the Presentation – an ancient Jewish custom whereby boys (approximately 40 days after birth) were presented at the temple in sacrifice to God. The custom at that time would have been similar to ours of baptizing children at 8 days old (similar to circumcision dating): presenting and sealing our children forever as a Child of God.
"When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.” Lk 2: 22-24
The custom recognized that even at 40 days old we were born with a purpose for God. That God’s mission for us isn’t to fulfill our own desires, but His.
“Since the children share in blood and flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” Heb 2: 14-18
Here the writer gives us an insight into what our mission (our purpose) is when he says, “Jesus shares with those who BECOME SLAVES and then gives power to overcome the devil and death.”
Our call to God—to become holy—is fulfilled by Jesus’ death and resurrection, which grants us the forgiveness and mercy we need because of our human weaknesses.
But our “passage” to receiving “a share” is to humbly live in sacrifice and slavery to others: by loving my enemies and serving those less fortunate. By being willing to care for those who have less, by being patient with those who understand less, and by loving as Christ loved (granting forgiveness and mercy, not judgment) upon all those whom he puts in my life—most especially to those closest to us (our spouses and our families).
I am not here to judge, and I am not here to say, “Why do you ask this of me?” or “What will I get out of this if I do it?” My mission here on earth is to accept the challenges and to give Him control of my life, so that as I move forward in trust, I will remember in hope that His promise to me will be fulfilled not today, not tomorrow, but “on the last day.”
Jesus did not come to help angels, but to free those who have become slaves to each other. I am not expecting I will be served by others, but that I should be looking for ways that others need my service. My understanding is to believe in the hope that whomever I serve will see a part of Christ in me, some light, so that they too will seek to be become holy by imitating Jesus’ example of loving neighbor as themselves.
That doesn’t mean that I can’t accept or shouldn’t ask for help from others, it just means that I shouldn’t EXPECT someone to do and bear what God has given me as my responsibility and burdens.
To bring others to holiness is the call of a vocation. The vocation of the Priest and the religious is to serve the Church, sacrificing their desire for human intimacy to serve the needs of the Church community—to be one with Christ, to spread the good news of Christ, to be fishers of men, and to feed our Spirit with the food of Christ’s body in the Eucharist.
The vocation of Marriage is a call for a man and woman to serve each other AND to spread Christ’s Church by the one flesh unity which creates an ongoing, continuing presence in the creation of new life and new families. Our sacrifice as spouses gives up our own wants and desires for each other and for our new family so that as a domestic Church, as a family unit, we may all be brought to holiness. Marriage is not about me, marriage is about the other. It is about making a small unit into a community of believers who will work to fulfill God’s promise and in turn to become a Godly part of a bigger community.
And the vocation of singleness—is again to serve others and again a sacrifice of human intimacy by dedicating their life of holiness and to doing those jobs that take time and dedication not available to those with families.
Heavenly Father: “Show forth your work to your servants; let your glory shine on their children. Let the favor of the Lord be upon us; give success to the work of our hands, give success to the work of our hands.” (Ps 90: 13-17) ”Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to You.” (Mt 5: 16) Amen.
Present yourself to God, accept your responsibilities and your sufferings, put your needs behind the needs of those around you, and be ready this week to be HIS servant—someone needs you,