Pastoral Letter: Presentation of our Lord to the Temple

Fr. Bartholomew headshot photoSisters and brothers today we celebrate the presentation of our Lord to the Temple. The temple is a place where people meet and worship God. The temple is a sacred place because God has chosen to dwell in it. And therefore
when people want to express their communion with God through prayers and sacrifices they go to the temple. In
short the temple is the house of prayers and Sacrifices.

Sacrifices to God

When we offer sacrifices to God in terms of material things, we are merely expressing our gratitude to God for what God has provided us. Through our sacrifices we telling God that all what we have belongs to you, and our lives do not depend on the material things we possess. God is the source of our life. God is the one who sustains our life and at the end of our human existence on earth, our life will return to God.

Our sacrifice to God is not only limited to material things, but offering of our own selves is the highest level of expressing our total dependence on God. When we offer our whole life to God, it implies that we consecrate our life to God who sanctifies us.

Presentation of Jesus

The parents of our Lord presents the Child Jesus to the temple as a way of fulfilling the Jewish laws that demands every first born child to be consecrated to God;

“ The Lord said to Moses, “Dedicate all the first born males to me, for every first born male Israelite and every first born male male animal belongs to me” ( Ex. 13:1-2)

By presenting the child Jesus to the temple, the parents of Jesus are acknowledging that the child belongs to God. God is the true father of this Child. The child is not their personal property. The parents have just collaborated with God in bringing this child to the earth. But the Child belongs to God. God is the real owner of this child. The parents are stewards of God’s Child. As parents, they are to fulfill their parental responsibilities of bringing up this child. Once this child grows up, he will depart from them, and commit himself to the mission of God. At the early age of seven Jesus reminded his parents that he belongs to God and not to them(Lk 2:49-51).

Sisters and brothers this feast of the presentation of the Lord to the temple reminds us that we all belong to God. Life is a gift from God and it can only be possessed by God. This feast also teaches us that Christ has been offered to God for the salvation of all people.

Fr. Barthlomew MROSSO M.afr