The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Book of Revelation 11:4-12; Psalm 144: 1,2, 9-10; Luke 20:27-40
Today is the feast of the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated by Catholic and Orthodox Churches. I was curious about the feast's name and the readings selected for today since none of them contain anything about Mary. I began to do some research and learned that the basis for much of the teachings on Mary's life does not come from the Gospels but the Narrative of James. Although the story of the Annunciation is told in Luke, Chapter 1, the Presentation of Mary, when her parents Joachim and Anna are told that Ann, who had been thought to be barren, would soon give birth to a child, is known from the Protoevangelium of James.
Today's readings call us to reflect on the meaning of death and resurrection. Both the excerpt from Revelation and Luke's Gospel narrative come as this big question we ask in our lives, "what's next?" From an early age, we realize that the life force in all living things eventually comes to an end. The emotion of fear, anxiety, confusion, anger, frustration, and resignation often accompany our contemplation of death. Many fear "what's next" after our last breath.
Then comes Jesus, who brings us hope. Through the power of God, He re-infused a life force in some of His contemporaries who had died. Through the power of God, He also rose from the dead. The reading from Revelation reinforces the fact of our eventual resurrection. However, the reading from Saint Luke addresses what happens after death.
The Sadducees, and scribes are once again testing Jesus. Their question deals with the fact of resurrection as a life they understand now. Jesus answers that the resurrection He speaks of is much different than their current understanding of life. Jesus' answer provides comfort for those who believe in His message. But it isn't particular, is it? Nor can it be, since reality must be experienced to be fully understood and appreciated. Jesus is providing hope but also addressing those emotions that we feel when we contemplate death. If we truly believe in His message, we should add to those emotions a strong sense of anticipation and peace at what is to come.
Question of the Day: Do you believe that Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life and that He will lead you to His Father in heaven?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, today we ask for comfort, anticipation, and peace at the time of our death and that of all those we love. Amen.