Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fourth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Leviticus 12:1-8
Psalm 84
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:22-40

REFLECTION: “Incomparable Tenderness”

In our Gospel today, it’s been forty days since the birth of Jesus. He is brought by Mary and Joseph into Jerusalem. There, he is to be presented in the Temple, together with offerings so that Mary might be considered ceremonially clean.

In the midst of this special moment, sacrifice is being offered, and prophecy of pain and sorrow echo from the walls of the temple. Simeon, an elderly man who had been waiting all his life to behold salvation incarnate, both praises God for what he has been privileged to behold with his own eyes, and also points out the destiny of Jesus… and the pain that his destiny will inflict on Mary.

And yet, in spite of Simeon’s prophecy, Mary remains at Jesus’ side; just as Jesus remains at our side day by day. She remains a quiet, steadfast presence in his life and ministry, right to the day of his death… and beyond. There is a tenderness expressed through Mary’s presence with her Son… but even her love, her devotion, her determination to remain in the company of Jesus is paled, utterly paled, by the Eternal Father’s tenderness towards us.

In his incomparable tenderness, the Father sends his Son into the world that we may be renewed by the power of the Spirit. The same Spirit that made Mary’s womb fruitful makes fruitful the Church’s womb, the baptismal font, bringing to birth generation after generation of faithful sons and daughters.  That means we are given an unparalleled opportunity to draw close to the One who fashioned the cosmos, and call to him softly and tenderly, with the most loving of words: “Abba”… “Daddy”.
I don’t know about you, but my heart melts when I hear my children come to me saying “Daddy”. There is something simple, genuine, and infinitely tender about being addressed so. And, my friends, God gives us the privilege to coming to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit… with such a simple and loving word. This privilege is ours because Jesus came in the flesh. He was obedient to the Law. He lived a life free of sin, reaching out to others even to his death.

Are we willing to come God, today and every day, with such dependence, utter trust, and deep love?