Thus says the Lord God: 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. —Malachi 3:1-4
Praised Be Jesus, everyone!
I hope that this post finds everyone well! This week, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple (and for all our Trads out there, the last day of the Christmas season). The Presentation marks the first public revelation of Jesus after the Nativity and the beginning of His mission to all people. It is the first time that Jesus is recognized as the Messiah, the Christ that had been long awaited, by the Prophet Simeon and the Prophetess Anna.
While meditating on the events of the Presentation, it is striking to think that Christ is presented in the Temple, the Temple built for the worship of God and the center of sacrifice for all Jewish people. It is striking to think that the God of the Universe that nothing can contain enters His own Temple as a little baby, and in total humility and submission to the Law (the Law he didn't have to submit to), it is mind blowing to contemplate!
But a profound mystery is alluded to in the Presentation of the Lord, in that His presentation in the Temple alludes to His presentation in us. Saint Paul wisely writes in his first letter to the Corinthians, "Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself." What Christ does in the Temple in Jerusalem, He comes again and again to do in us.
Christ enters His Temple, to foreshadow that He will enter another temple — not a temple of stone, but a temple of flesh and blood. What Jesus does in the Temple, he does in the Eucharist; he enters the temple of our bodies. Christ in His Eucharistic presence again humbles Himself by appearing under the appearance of simple bread and wine and again is received into His Temple, the Temple of His making, our own bodies. Again, the purpose of this entering into the Temple is so that Christ can be made known. As Saint Gianna Beretta Molla said, "Our body is a cenacle, a monstrance: Through its crystal, the world should see God." When we receive Him, we receive Him so first the Temple of our body may be purified, and second so that we may give Jesus to the world, that we may present Him to those who do not know Him. Are we truly presenting Jesus to those around us? Are we truly letting His Light shine through us? Does Jesus shine through our actions and words? By this memorial of our Lord's Presentation, may we also be prepared to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and then present Him to others.
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!