Presentation of Mary

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With Thanksgiving just days away, no doubt many of you are anticipating family members and friends coming to be with you.  My own family anticipates seeing my niece soon who now lives on an island off the coast of Greece.

That sense of waiting with joy was palatable in the Old Testament as they anticipated the Lord’s coming. The first lines of today’s reading from Zechariah say: ‘Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.’

The Lord, indeed, has come to us, and he came because a young girl named Mary consented to be his mother.  Today the Church celebrates the Presentation of Mary in the Temple to honor Mary and the holy life she led even as a little girl.

What is this feast since it is not found in the Scriptures?  Early writings and traditions of the church state that St. Anne, Mary’s mother, suffered much shame in her day due to her inability to have a child.  Finally becoming pregnant as an older woman, St. Anne was so grateful that she consecrated her child to God in service in the Temple.  This was not an uncommon practice in her day.

Mary is presented in the Temple as a child to God, but in her teen years, she will become the temple of the Lord when the Angel Gabriel says to her that ‘the power of the Most High will overshadow you.’

What can we learn from this ancient feast?  Once again, it gives us a beautiful opportunity to honor Mary who lived her whole life for God.  To her we look once again for strength and inspiration, faith, and trust.  This humble woman changed the world by her ‘yes’.  She was ready to answer God because she served him faithfully each day of her young life.  This presentation was her preparation from God for her important role in salvation.

She still serves God in her apparitions to humble people in Fatima, Lourdes, Knock, Guadalupe, etc., pleading for us to bring about peace in our world…a message we so desperately need now.

May we learn from Mary who loves everyone, everywhere, to also live our lives in dedicated service to the Lord and strive for peace around us.