-Paul Uhlig, Ph.D.
Today we celebrate the events surrounding the presentation of the baby Jesus in the Temple. This was a very precious moment for Mary and Joseph as they presented the baby Jesus to the priests for blessing in the sight of the God. In our own distinctive way, Carmen and I shared in this joy as we presented each of our children for Baptism at roughly the same age as Jesus. Although not mentioned, the relatives of Mary and Joseph were likely near and prepared to celebrate with the new parents and child, much like our families on similar occasions. Then there were those in attendance, Anna and Simeon, who had awaited the coming of Jesus, and upon seeing him, spoke prophetically of his destiny. Our family and friends only seemed to want to hold the baby. In each storyline we find both a celebration of initiation and thanksgiving.
I ask us now, how do these events touch us so as to invite a sharing of our love, our gifts, and our talents? Are we open to the idea of presenting our work, our joys, our sufferings, and ourselves to the Lord? Are we open to sharing our gifts and our love with each other as Jesus was shared with Anna, Simeon, and the others at the Presentation? Are we open to the many ways that the Lord presents himself to us? In all these cases it is a question of making a present of ourselves. The word “present” in the sense of “gift” has its origins in Latin’s praesens, “being there,” which speaks to the greatest gift we have for each other-presence! This is what we celebrate in both initiation and thanksgiving; we celebrate that which is new, and that which we have been given.
I invite each of us to take a short time today and reflect upon how we make ourselves present to each other and to the Lord. May each of us seek ways to share our unique presence and gifts with those whom we find near. May our sharing enliven the community of St. Mary’s and build the family of God. Amen.