Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an event that is recounted in the “Protoevangelium of James.” This document, as its name implies, recounts events that took place prior to any of the events recorded in the Gospels, providing us with infancy narratives for Mary and for Jesus as well. In this document, the writer recounts that when Mary was three years old, Joachim and Anna, took her to the Temple to fulfill a promise they had made to God. Joachim was accounted a wealthy man, but he and his wife were childless. Both of them mourned their childless state and promised that if God would bless them with a child, that child would be dedicated to the service of the Lord.
Another separate tradition holds that Mary herself, while still a child, was led by the Holy Spirit to offer herself to God. In each scenario the essential point is the same. Even before she reached her adolescence, her course in life was set.
Each day we come here before God’s altar. We are implicitly at least and, it is to be hoped, explicitly too, offering God the good use of our time, talents, and energy, rededicating ourselves to the commitment of our baptism. What we offer God at this altar along with and in the High Priest Jesus must be intentionally developed and used now, not hoarded for some uncertain great moment in the future. Otherwise our offering may remain simply an idle hope, an ineffectual gesture. Truly to use what we have and are for God requires the strength we draw from Christ’s offering of himself. Only so can we manage the required sacrifice, inconvenience, patience, and daily faithfulness.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator