Wednesday, November 21, 2007

a reflection on today's Lectionary readings: on the Presentation of Mary

Based on 2 Maccabees 7:1,20-32
Luke 19:11-28

Two parents are presented before us today. The first is the brave mother from the first reading, whose beautiful words to her sons emboldened them to face their execution with courage. She, who from their infancy would have nurtured their faith, and she--who would have taught them their prayers and the practices of their Jewish ancestors---enabled her children to remain faithful through the example of her own valiant trust.

And the second is the figure of Mary, one of whose feasts we celebrate today. She, along with Joseph, were the first teachers of their son in the ways of faith: she who would have taught Jesus his first childhood prayers and taught him about the customs of their Jewish forefathers. She would have had a thing or two to tell him about courage and of trusting in God even when it could bring ridicule and persecution. And she most likely taught Jesus all of this pointing to her own personal experience of trusting---of trusting the words of an angel even though doing so would have meant personal embarrassment and possibly her execution.

What is interesting is that the words of the brave mother from the first reading could have been Mary’s own words to her Son: “Son, I do not know how you came into existence in my womb; it was not I who gave you the breath of life, nor was it I who set in order the elements of which you are composed…yet God will give you the breath of life because you disregard yourself for his sake.”

We owe a lot to our parents and those who are and have been parent figures to us. On this week of thanksgiving, we remember them and lift them up to God in prayer. And we who are parents and who are parent figures are reminded that God entrusts us with an awesome task of nurturing what we’ve been given—our faith---and of handing down the faith, just as the king in today’s Gospel parable entrusts his servants with gold coins and calls them to increase what they’ve been given. For this we also give God our thanks for entrusting us with the privilege of sharing in his own mission.

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