Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Eve of Candlemas

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord"), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22-24)

That time for purification, according to the law of Moses, was forty days after the birth.(See Leviticus 12)Tomorrow, February 2, marks the Feast of the Presentation, also known as Candlemas, when the Church recalls Jesus' first journey to Jerusalem.

Mary and Joseph make this trek because they are observant Jews. The law says that they are to offer a lamb, or if they cannot afford a lamb, then two turtledoves or two pigeons. (See Leviticus 12:6-8) Luke doesn't dwell on the point, but doesn't say anything about a lamb. Apparently Mary and Joseph spent what they had on the trip to Jerusalem. They were not wealthy people.

As I write these words, I am sitting in my warm home, looking out at new-fallen snow. It's been a drag, this winter; and I've been grumpy about all of the snow. I have no reason to be, however; I am safe and warm. On this night, in this county and commonwealth and country there are people who are not so lucky.

Jesus never forgot the poor; probably because he knew what it was like to grow up that way. Maybe it's why he noticed widows, and orphans, and beggars. May this Feast Day be an opportunity for us to do the same. Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth.

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