The Gospel according to Luke (12:46-50)
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
his mother and his brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with him.
Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with you.”
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother?
Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Today, there are two options for the Gospel – that of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, featuring Zacchaeus, or the one I chose today, for the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I love the story of Zacchaeus, but thought I’d take the less-taken path instead for today.
I will say that this is a memorial that I was not familiar with. We all know the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in February (40 days after Christmas). This memorial points even more to how God set apart the one chosen to bear the Savior, even from her early childhood. Some of the early writings highlight that she was presented at the temple to be dedicated to God at the age of three. I cannot imagine what would have gone through three-year-old Mary’s mind when her elderly parents, Joachim and Anne, brought her to the temple, but suffice it to say that it was likely a very scary and overwhelming experience for her.
The idea of “presenting” our children to God seems very foreign to our modern viewpoint, I would say. But, for the observant Jews of that time, it was natural. Even the term “firstborn son” used for Jesus was something like a legal term that Jews would give over their firstborn sons in service to God. We talk about discernment, but this was a directive that they willingly obeyed.
And what can we take from today’s memorial? Just as Mary was set apart for her special role in God’s Kingdom from an early age, each of us who are Baptized are also set apart. We may not have a role that literally changes the direction of the history of human beings, but we do have a role that God has set aside just for each one of us. On this day when Mary’s parents presented her to God for His plan for humanity, may we pause and think of what our part in God’s plan is. May we also ask Him to help us to cooperate with that plan, and to do our part and take on the role that He has graciously prepared for us.
Action for the Day:
As I just mentioned, take time today to pause and reflect on your role in God’s plan. If you believe you are already working to fulfill that role, give thanks to God and ask Him to help you stay the course. If you’re still seeking or are wondering if God has a role for you at all, ask Him to settle your heart and mind to hear the Holy Spirit within you, and trust that the Spirit will help you find the way to be an active helper in the effort to bring God’s Kingdom about here, today.
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!