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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Baby Jesus Presented at the Temple

The Gospel Reading on Monday, February 2, 2015 inspired writing from the heart.
Gospel Luke: 2:22-40

And Today the Church Ponders and Remembers 
The Presentation of the Lord 

Feast Day

And it's also the fourth mystery of the Joyful mystery of the rosary.. The Presentation of the Lord.. Have you ever pondered this in prayer? One of many things about my Lord and His humble beginnings I love to ponder.
Let us ponder....
“And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), and thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed’” (Luke 2:33-35).Why was the infant baby Jesus taken to the temple to be presented to the Lord? Many today would look upon this as a ritual. Rituals are not necessary; it's the personal relationship with Jesus that counts. Well, If we understand the meaning behind the ritual.. It sheds light and points us to God our Savior.  
My household has been full of family rituals and we look forward to many of them each day.
Such as no TV on during dinner, we sit at the table together and eat together at the table and we start each meal with a prayer of thanks for the food. Yep, this has been our ritual for 39 years.. Might sound boring to some.. If you understood how this ritual has brought our family closer through the years, you might began to understand order and rituals in ones life can produce fruits of harmony and love.. 
Our God the Father started rituals and order to teach the children of Israel about who He was.. Many forgot the meaning behind the ritual and it was done out of habit and not the heart. Mary and Joseph understood the true meaning of this ritual and they presented the baby Jesus with the understanding and their heart.. 
The Church was started by Jesus (Jew) and He called the Apostle (Jews) to go preach, teach and baptized all nations in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.... This became the ritual, the routine of the Apostles...Yep, many rituals were apart of the Early Church...such as the Lord's Supper. The breaking of the bread was done ever time they assembled together... In a home or a cave or the catacombs...and they read the scriptures and it was a ritual every time they met...if you don't understand this ritual, you will never understand what the Eucharist really means...the deep, deep meaning.
Wonder how many times the "rituals" the Apostles knew and understood as a Jew and a devoted practicing Jew... How often was their eyes opened to a deep revelation to the understanding of who Jesus was and the foreshadowing...the typology in which each "ritual" and it's meaning from above, that was recorded in the OT and practiced? How many aaaahaa moment did they have? 
I know personally the more I study and learn about the OT rituals and the rituals in which I participate at during Mass.... I am so touched by there understanding and the fact they make my Savior so real in my life... How God orchestrated something so beautiful ...that all my senses can touch, smell, feel, and see the beautiful canvas that God unfolded through time, if we truly seek the understanding and meaning of every ritual we participate in at Mass.. It's not the ritual that gives grace from above. It's entering into its understanding that gives the graces from above..

Just like the family table... If you don't participate, you will never get to know who your Father and Mother are...and how much they love you and how much they want to hear about your day.. 

What is its meaning it's purpose, when did the Church start using incense?
We do not know exactly when the use of incense was introduced into our Mass or other liturgical rites. At the time of the early Church, the Jews continued to use incense in their own Temple rituals, so it would be safe to conclude that the Christians would have adapted its usage for their own rituals.
The purpose of incensing and the symbolic value of the smoke is that of purification and sanctification. For example, in the Eastern Rites at the beginning of Mass, the altar and sanctuary area were incensed while Psalm 50, the "Miserere," was chanted invoking the mercy of God. The smoke symbolizes the prayers of the faithful drifting up to heaven: the Psalmist prays, "Let my prayer come like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice" (Psalm 141). Incense also creates the ambiance of heaven: The Book of Revelation describes the heavenly worship as follows: "Another angel came in holding a censer of gold. He took his place at the altar of incense and was given large amounts of incense to deposit on the altar of gold in front of the throne, together with the prayers of all God's holy ones. From the angel's hand, the smoke of the incense went up before God, and with it the prayers of God's people."
The usage of incense adds a sense of solemnity and mystery to the Mass. The visual imagery of the smoke and the smell remind us of the transcendence of the Mass which links heaven with earth, and allow us to enter into the presence of God.
I the use of incense! The smell and the smoke feeds my visual sense as it arises above.. It's much like the way the singing of the hymns touch our .. Our ears hear the beauty in the instruments and the words become our personally pray to the Lord...and the smoke takes those words to heaven.. My senses are being overloaded with the beautiful canvas in which my mind can touch, smell, hear..

Why do Catholics kneel during their services? This seems unnecessary. Why not just sit still and listen to the preaching of God's word?
In Ephesians 3:14 Paul says, "I kneel before the Father," and in Acts 9:40 Peter "knelt down and prayed." The habit or call it a ritual of kneeling is consistent with Scripture and is another manifestation of the continuity between the Church of the first century and the Catholic Church today.

Why do we genuflect before the Tabernacle and kneel during Mass?
1st of all you have to understand what the Tabernacle is.. Every Catholic Church has one located behind the altar. In the tabernacle is the consecrated bread...the Eucharist.. Jesus is in there... This is my Body given up for you.. Next to the tabernacle is a red candle burning letting us know He is there. If the candle is not burning He is not.. This happens only once a year..Good Friday.. He has been crucified...He is gone.. What a visual that speaks volumes on Good Friday and seeing the tabernacle door open and nothing in it... My 1st Good Friday experience seeing the tabernacle empty.. I cried like a baby. Think of the Temple of old.. What was kept in the Ark of the Covenant?

The practice of genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament, whether enclosed in the tabernacle or exposed in a monstrance, is a beautiful sign of adoration. This physical act of genuflection symbolizes our heart bowing before the Lord who is substantially and really present in the Eucharist. St. Ambrose (d. 397) said, “The knee is made flexible by which the offense of the Lord is mitigated, wrath appeased, grace called forth,” and Alcuin (d. 804) later added, “By such a posture of the body we show forth our humbleness of heart.”

This is just a few examples... if you have any questions concerning why Catholics do this or that.. Please let me know and I will try to answer. God Bless!

Gospel Luke: 2:22-40
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

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