Tuesday, February 4, 2014

From Bethlehem to Jerusalem

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

Every first born male in the Jewish society was consecrated to the Lord and was redeemed at the price of a sacrifice of 2 turtle doves. To redeem is to “buy back” the life of the baby boy from God. to understand this, we must recall that blessed night of the Exodus when the angel of death was sent by God to the land of Egypt in order to slay every first-born son throughout the land. To save the Hebrew children, each family killed a lamb and its blood was painted on the lintels of the door of the house. The angel of death passed over that house and so the live of the babies were spared. This is the reason why today, the 40th day of Christmas, Mary and Joseph went to the temple to present the Baby Jesus to the Lord and to ‘redeem’ his life at the price of the lives of 2 turtle doves.

God presented his Son to his people who waited for the fulfillment of the promise
But at this moment, it was not Mary and Joseph who presented the Baby Jesus to the Lord but it was God who presented his Son to his people who have been waiting for his promised coming. The Holy Spirit pointed the child Jesus to the aged Simeon who recognized him as the Salvation which God has prepared in the sight of all the people…”a light of revelation to the gentiles, and the glory of the people of Israel.” Mary and Joseph will not be permitted to redeem the life of this child who was destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel as he will be a sign that will be contradicted. The turtle doves will not be the sacrifice. It will be the child…the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This child is the Redeemer who will buy us back at the price of his own blood. This child is the Son of God who shares in the blood and flesh of all humanity. His flesh will be sacrificed on the Cross and his blood will be shed. “Through death, he might destroy the devil who has the power of death and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life.” (Ginawa niya ito upang sa pamamagitan ng kanyang kamatayan ay maigupo niya ang diyablo na siyang may kapangyarihan sa kamatayan. Sa gayon, pinalaya niyaang lahat ng naging alipin habang panahon dahil sa kanilang takot sa kamatayan.) This child is not only the offering but he is also the “merciful and faithful High Priest” who stands before God to expiate the sins of the people. This child will once again make the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem pleasing to the Lord, as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Today, God presents his Son to his people: here is My Son in whom I am well pleased. Today, God gives us the Lamb for the sacrifice as foretold by Abraham to his son Isaac: “The Lord will provide the Lamb for the sacrifice” (Gen 22:8). This Lamb is his Son, who is enthroned in the arms of Mary the Ark of the Covenant, as he enters the temple. On the day Jesus consummates his sacrifice on the Cross, the great curtain of the Holy of holies will be rent into two for he shall put the temple sacrifices to an end as His sacrifice is the one and only sacrifice that will please the Father. Today, we come to church to meet him who is God, Priest, and Lamb. Our eyes behold him who is like us in every way except in sin. And we rejoice for God has fulfilled his promise. We begin preparing for the sacrifice that he was sent to do. Christmas ends and paves the way for the coming of Lent and the Easter Triduum. The days of feasting come to a close. The days of fasting will draw near. Mary and Joseph left Bethlehem and journeyed to Jerusalem to bring Jesus to the temple. It is now time for us to bid Bethlehem goodbye and begin fixing our eyes to Jerusalem. The Lamb who is truly unblemished has arrived…we shall now accompany him to his Sacrifice. Let us walk with him to Jerusalem. Let us prepare to be sprinkled clean by his Blood.

Jesus, I trust in you! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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