The Presentation of the Lord, Year A
To Give Him Just Honor and Praise
If one of your brothers or sisters were living in another state and came home to see your parents, you would be naturally inclined to want to go to visit them while they are here. You would want to do so not only to visit them, but to give them the honor that is due them as your brother or sister.
If the President of the United States came to visit Monticello, as a community, we would be inclined to have a great reception, perhaps with a community band, with a special program that is well-organized, with flags flying, and maybe with a token of remembrance for him to take with him.
Our feast day today of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple is a very churchy feast. It is very much about liturgy and the sacred. Saint Thomas Aquinas says that liturgy is the act by which we praise God and thereby render what is due to Him. But when we honor God through our praises in the liturgy, we become righteous on the inside. A right ordering takes place within us. Then we are ready and capable of bringing that righteousness to our world.
Mary and Joseph offered Jesus to the Father in the Temple. This feast anticipates our offering of Christ to the Father at every Mass, and thereby our giving of proper praise to the Father. We express the just relationship that we have with the Father and in doing so, we conform ourselves to Jesus Christ. This involves gestures, vestments, candles, procession, and incense. It is extravagant love. This is why the Sunday Mass is so important to us!