God guides the humble rightly and teaches the humble the way. All the paths of the Lord are faithful love toward those who honor the covenant demands. Psalm 25:9-10.
Jesus is presented to the Church—the new temple of God, the dwelling place of the Word—as a poor and humble servant.
Jesus is presented to us in his simplicity and vulnerability as a sign of contradiction which topples our normal human way of seeing greatness, power, and success.
Jesus is presented to us as Incarnate Love who invites admiration, imitation, and reciprocal response in return for love.
Jesus is presented to us as the foundation, source, and ultimate meaning of what it means to be truly human and truly divine in his total availability to suffer for our sake.
As St Bonaventure writes, the ultimate meaning of the mystery of the Incarnation is the humble love of a God who bends down to us. To bend down in this regard is the clearest sign that the love of God and the reign of God in our hearts will not be enacted through acts of violence, conquest or suasions of a temporal claim or promise, but rather through self-emptying and a humble descent from the glory and realms of heaven into the very dumps and dungeons of human history and our fragile human nature.
Jesus is presented to us in the words of Ilia Delio as “a God who shows himself to us in poor and humble fragile human flesh. This is a God who loves us so much as to be reckless in love; a God who throws it all away out of love and never tires of loving.”
The Gospel account reveals some important things that take place during the ceremony. First of all, Jesus is circumcised on the very day that the law appoints (v. 21). Secondly, it is a painful operation, yet Christ would undergo it for us, as Hebrews 2: 10-11 shows: “It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Jesus is obedient to the Law of Moses from the beginning, to show his connection with the descendants of Abraham, and to show his true humanity.
At his Presentation, according to custom, he receives his name: he is called Jesus or Joshua, for he is “so named of the angel” to his mother Mary “before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke. 1:31), and to his foster father Joseph. It is a common name among the Jews, as is John, and in this, he would be made like unto his brethren. Even in the choice of name for Jesus, the Gospel shows his location in time, continuity with the history of Israel, and the beginning of a new history beyond Israel and the nations.
Even in the poverty of the offering of Jesus’ family in the temple, Simeon and Anna attest to the wonder of God in this child and give testimony to his divinity. It is only in contemplating on the poverty and humility of God can we truly see God and enter into union with God. This is why only the humble can see the glory of God. The God who humbles Godself in this way can only be encountered by created human beings who come to God in humility and total surrender. God’s glory shines in our lives when, with a humble and simple heart, we present ourselves in total surrender to God in loving worship and obedience.
Questions for Meditation
Am I, like Jesus, presenting myself to God in total surrender? Can I humble myself to see God’s glory?
Lord, I come before you on this Feast professing my faith in you.
I need you, Lord
My heart longs for you
My whole being thirsts for your spring of salvation
Melt my proud heart and selfish desires with your grace
May I come to you with a humble heart, and a broken spirit
This way, you can fill me with grace as you did once to the Blessed Mother, Amen.
© Stan Chu Ilo