HOMILY FOR FRIDAY , 4TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME / YEAR B
THEME: PRESENTING CHILDREN TO GOD.
BY: FR. KARABARI PAUL
‘…The parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law..’
Every child is a gift from God. One ceremony to show this was the redemption of the first born. The Jews believed that every first born male, of cattle as well as humans, was sacred to God. Ever since Israel had been delivered from bondage of the Egyptians, after the first born of the Egyptians had been slain, the first born of the Jews became dedicated to God. Exodus decreed that the first born belonged to God. And they had this ceremony whereby parents could for a certain sum symbolically buy back their son.
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The other ceremony was purification after childbirth. After giving birth, a woman was held to be ritually unclean for 40days if she had given birth to a son, for a daughter 80days. At the end of this duration, she would offer a gift to God in the temple. So in the Gospel of today (Luke 2:22-40), we see the rites of purification.
In thanksgiving for the birth of a child, a lamb was offered. For cleansing, a young pigeon was given. For a poor family, instead of a lamb, another pigeon was given (Lev.12:8). The offering of two pigeons as seen in the Gospel passage today was called the Offering of the Poor. So the mother who brought the Lamb of God into the world had no lamb to offer in the temple except the Lamb of God.
The infantile narrative of Jesus shows that Mary and Joseph did all they needed to do for the child Jesus. They adopted godly approach in parenting. They acted according to scriptures and Jewish customs. Today, some parents are not bothered about the spiritual foundation and growth of their children. The results are seen in pains and troubles young people are causing their parents and families. For if parents fail to give their children what God desires, the children will give their parents what the Evil One desires.
Simeon, however, gave a shocking revelation about the Child Jesus. He spoke about the pain the child would bring to Mary. And the parents accepted the will of God. Parents can sometimes bring pain, it doesn’t mean they are evil in themselves. You can do the needful and still end up in the hospital with your child. It was a bitter truth that Mary received. In a world where the Gospel is commercialised, and people sitting in pews on sundays to hear exactly what they want and pleasing to their ears, we are challenged to be open to the truth of the Gospel. If the Gospel only comforts us, and never at any time indicts our consciences or we don’t get uneasy with its verdicts, then it ceases to be the Gospel of Christ.
Parents should prepare their children, from an early age, within the family, to think and act in accordance with proper attitude and Christian values. It is the responsibility of parents to introduce their children to God early in their lives. Children should show virtues of respect, love and humility towards their parents and one another. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May our children be sources of peace, blessing, happiness, and never sorrow. God bless you and your household always through Christ Our Lord Amen. You have the assurance of my prayers. Good morning!
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