Thus says the Lord God:I love the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It's one of those days that just seems so mystical. Falling on the cross-quarter between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox, it recalls that the Light, born at Christmas and adored by the wise men, born away from any home, now arrives in his historical home, his Temple.
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.
I think of all the hands and backs that built that Temple, and not only the Temple that Jesus knew, but the first Temple and the tents that preceded it. I think of all that work pointed toward this moment when the empty heart of the Temple, the Holy of Holies, should be filled by the Light that is the Word made flesh. I think of all those who continue to pray each day at the last remaining wall of the Second Temple, and I stand in awe before the blessed mystery that the Israel of history continues to accompany the world in its journey toward the fulfillment of all hope.
I think of all the priests who served in those Temples, offering sacrifice to the living God, holding within their religion, obscurely but surely, the fulfillment of every priesthood in Christ as his priestly people, the Church, offers day after day, in him, sacrifice of praise to the Father.
I think of all the people who lived before Jesus Christ; the intimacies of their conceptions, the joy at their births, the happiness and struggles of their lives, and how all of it pointed toward the incarnation for which humanity was created in God's image, for the moment in which one human life would be herself so immaculately conceived that at her very hearing of the announcement of her most blessed vocation she would conceive the Word of God in her body. This, so that we who have arrived after Jesus Christ might be conceived anew in him and born again in our baptism into his death and resurrection, dead to the misery of sin but alive for the justice and righteousness of the arriving Kingdom of God.