Presentation of the Lord
Forty days after Christmas we celebrate this wonderful feast, in which we remember the day when Mary and Joseph, following Jewish tradition, went to the temple to present Jesus to God, to offer him to the Father, for the simple reason that every firstborn belongs to God.
Today’s celebration centers upon two elements that are among the most important in our lives: God and family. In the action of the whole Holy Family going to the temple, we can see “the unity” that should be the goal of every family.
Each week, I have the privilege of seeing you coming to church on Sunday, and it is wonderful to see every one of you, but there even greater joy when whole families come to Mass together. I know that sometimes this is difficult, that sometimes your children – especially when they have grown up – have challenges coming with you to Mass. And the Holy Family continues to guide us even in those situations, letting us understand that everything belongs to God.
If we understand that all things belong to God, not to us and not to me, then we should give them back to God. And then it will be easier to give our time to God, because in the end we are just returning to God what is God’s. Yes, everything we have in life is a gift from God to us, for without Him there would not be life.
One of the most important things we can learn is that even though God has given all that we are and all that we have to us, and that while we can do with them whatever we want, the truth is that only in recognizing that all is a gift and using that gift for the glory of God can we find peace and fulfillment.
The saints lived in this way and, doing so, they accomplished much. Saint Ignatius of Loyola could not have done all that he did if he were not aware that everything is the Lord’s.
This is a prayer that Saint Ignatius invites his followers to pray:
Receive, O Lord, all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more. (Spiritual Exercises, #234).
Please look around, look at your family, give thanks for everything that you have and remember that you, they and all belong to Jesus.