Thoughts from Father Shields – February 2

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Do we act as though we are loved?

(Mal. 3:1-4; Heb. 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40)

Is there a person in your life in whose presence you feel secure, accepted, supported, reverenced…basically LOVED?  A  person in whose presence you feel you can not lose…even if you “lose”? If so, do you know “why?” you feel that way?

What “stands out” or is very noticeable about that person?  Hopefully, all of us have had or have someone like that (maybe even more than one) who simply believes in us and loves us unconditionally.

Today’s readings on this Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple us THAT PERSON coming to an Israelite Community that has been bullied, dominated and taken advantage of by their stronger neighbors. The Israelite Community for centuries was awaiting the Messiah who would lift them up from their downtrodden state of being and establish them in security and favor. Malachi in the first reading concentrates on the “messenger” being sent to bring about light and liberation. Luke in today’s Gospel through Simeon throws the spotlight on this child.

Jesus being presented in the Temple by Mary & Joseph as was the custom. The ONE who loves us no matter what has arrived in the Person of Jesus! We know from history some accepted that fact/person and some did not.

…You and I? We are baptized as Christ invited into this loving accepting context of the Father, Son and Spirit. Do we act as though we are loved? Are we confident enough to do the “right thing” even if it is not the popular opinion? Are WE emanators of that accepting, empowering-life-giving love that Christ has shared with us? Do we risk “forgiving”, “advocating for”, “accompanying”, “loving”, etc. As though we cannot lose? Because the truth is that IF we do in Christ’s name we cannot “lose”!

Our baptism gives us the invitation and challenge to provide that “presence” where others can feel so secure that they are able to be their very best. We have been given that liberation (whether we take advantage of it or not) and have been asked by Christ to go and do the same.

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