Creighton University's Online Ministries
February 2nd, 2009
Dick Hauser, S.J.
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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Jesus was raised in a pious Jewish family, a family who faithfully observed all the prescribed liturgical rituals of their religion. Forty days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph packed their bags and made the exhausting journey to Jerusalem to fulfill the prescription of the Law and present their son to the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord.” As prescribed Joseph and Mary offered the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves.
I am touched today by how conscientiously Joseph and Mary observed the tradition of their religion, even though observing the tradition involved considerable inconvenience, the journey of the family to Jerusalem.
And I am touched regularly by Jesus’ personal fidelity throughout his life to observing the prescribed Jewish religious practices such as weekly synagogue attendance and the three times daily recitation of Hebrew prayer -- not to mention observing the 613 prescriptions of the Mosaic Law.
For the Holy Family there was no tension between commitment to prescribed Jewish rituals and their personal relationship to God. As integral members of the Jewish Community their faith was grounded in the age-old liturgical rituals of the Jewish people. These rituals had sustained the Jewish people generation after generation. These rituals sustained the Holy Family. And these rituals complemented their personal relationship with God. Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived in intimate communion with the Lord. How frequently the Gospels mention Jesus’ going off by himself to pray.
For the Holy Family there is no tension between “being spiritual,” enjoying a personal relationship with God, and “being religious,” celebrating the relationship liturgically in community.
We do well to follow their example.
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