February 2, 2015

Gospel LK 2:22-40
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
There are many places in Scripture where we read about the giving of gifts.
The Wise Men brought gifts to the newborn King. St. Paul tells us about the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” and in today’s gospel,we read of Mary and Joseph presenting baby Jesus to God with the “gift” of two “turtledoves” or young pigeons, in accordance with the law.
The true value of a gift is determined by two things: the degree of love with which it is given, and the degree of sacrifice on the part of the giver.
This subject of gift giving makes me wonder: what do I possess that would be an acceptable gift to God? What do I possess that God might like to receive from me?
In Psalm 51:16-17, King David, after recognizing his own sinfulness, speaks to God:
“For you desire not sacrifice; else would I give it: you desire not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
The greatest gift we can give to God is the same gift we would most cherish from our own child: an admission of their mistakes, an expression of their sorrow, an acknowledgement of their need for our love, guidance and support.
It is then, as a parent, with great relief we open our arms and gather them in, saying, “It’s all right, everything is going to be fine. I love you.”
Like King David, the most valuable gift I can bring to God is to recognize where I have sinned and to humbly offer my “broken and contrite heart.”
It is then that God will lift me up so that once again I can start anew.