My Dear Parishioners:
The gospel today shows us a very devout Jewish family. Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to present to the Lord as their first-born. Jesus’ parents were very observant Jews. They introduced Jesus to their own religious tradition as soon as he was born. Jesus was shaped by that tradition from the earliest days of his life. It was in and through his family that he came to know the God of Israel, that he learned to pray, in particular the psalms, that he first heard the stories of the Jewish Scriptures. He was immersed in the Jewish tradition by his parents. Yet, as he grew older he made that tradition his own and took it in a direction that, at times, his parents and family found very difficult to understand. Simeon hints at that in his words to Mary in today’s gospel, “a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Most of us will have picked up the faith from our parents; they introduced us to the religious tradition that was important to them. As Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord, our parents brought us to the church for baptism. It was probably in the home that, like Jesus, we too learned to pray and heard the stories from the Scriptures for the first time. Yet, there comes a time when, like Jesus, we have to make the tradition we received from our parents our own. Like Jesus, we too may go on to shape it and give expression to it in ways that our parents might find unsettling. We receive the faith, but we must make it our own, because what is the faith only a relationship with the Lord, which, while we share it with others, is very personal to each one of us. It is said of Jesus at the end of the gospel that he grew to maturity. We spend our whole lives growing to maturity, and it is in and through our own personal response to the Lord’s call of us by name that we will come to full human maturity. Jesus, as well as being fully divine, was fully human, and it is in and through our own personal relationship with him that we too become fully human.
Blessings, Fr. John
Thank you for your generous offerings of prayer, service, and financial support all year through. Giving of your time and talents in ministry service benefits not only our parish family and community but also the hearts of those who serve! Thank you for helping us to continue the great work of our ministries and to foster the growth of this wonderful faith community.
~ May God bless you with peace and joy at Christmas and always ~
Fr. John and Fr. Sinoj