"To be pure, to remain pure, can only come at a price, the price of knowing God and loving him enough to do his will. He will always give us the strength we need to keep purity as something beautiful for him." - Blessed Mother Teresa
Gospel text (Lk 2:22-35): When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the baby up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice as ordered in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel , and he had been assured by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law. Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed God, saying, «Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for you have fulfilled your word and my eyes have seen your salvation, which you display for all the people to see. Here is the light you will reveal to the nations and the glory of your people Israel ».
His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, «See him; he will be for the rise or fall of the multitudes of Israel . He shall stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your own soul. Then the secret thoughts of many may be brought to light».
Today, we contemplate the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple , to accomplish what the Law of Moses prescribes: mother's purification and presentation and ransom of the firstborn child.
This scene is described by Saint Josemaría Escrivá in the fourth Joyful mystery of his book The Holy Rosary, while inviting us to get involved in it: «This time, my friend, it will be up to you to bring the cage with the turtledoves. —Do you realize? She —the Immaculate!— submits to the law as if she was unclean. Will you ever learn, you silly child, to submit, no matter what personal sacrifices, to God's Holy Law?
»Purified! It is certainly you and I who need to be purified! To atone, and, over and above atonement, Love. —A love that sears, that burns away our soul's dirt, and a fire, that inflames with divine flames our heart's misery».
This Christmas it is appropriate to take advantage of Mary's example to “clean” our soul, by making a sincere sacramental confession and to be able to receive our Lord with our best attitude. Thus, Joseph offers the pair of turtledoves, but most of all, with his work and his pure love, he offers his own capacity to carry forward God's established plan for the Holy Family, example to all families.
Simeon had been assured by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Christ. He goes to the Temple and when, full of joy, he holds in his arms the Messiah, he says: «Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for you have fulfilled your word and my eyes have seen your salvation» (Lk 2:29-30). With the eyes of faith, this Christmas, let us contemplate Jesus who, with his birth, has come to save us. Just as Simeon intoned a thanksgiving song, let all the families gather around the manger and, together, sing in joy, for we are aware we have been saved by the infant Jesus.