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Presentation Of  The Lord   Lk 2/22-40
Catholic Homilies
February 2nd 2003

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Presentation Of  The Lord   Lk 2/22-40

* by Dr. Mary Durkin

Background:

As we have noted before in these commentaries, scripture scholars now believe that the infancy narratives arose out of the early liturgical practices of the Jesus movement. The other parts of the gospel grew up around at first oral tradition and then written traditions which the Gospel writers put together. There is no trace of this development, however, in the infancy narratives. They appear almost full blown with no background development. They have been carefully composed with references to the Jewish scriptures. Perhaps, say some experts, they were liturgical plays, little dramas written for the community and perhaps acted out by children in the community (just the infancy narratives are often acted out today). This is not to suggest that they are pure fiction, but rather that they are stories put together for the community to emphasize their faith in who and what Jesus is. The two elderly spokes persons repeat the early Christian faith – and ours too. And Mary and Joseph must have pondered the words of Simeon and Anna, wondering what this meant for their child. They, like most new parents, probably had dreams for him but the prophecy of Simeon, and the words of Anna sounded somewhat ominous. Incidentally, the custom of blessing candles today comes from the fact in ancient Rome, the "station" for the Mass today was a church in the ruins of the Forum (Santa Maria in Foro) and, since it was in the middle of winter, it was very dark and people needed the candles to find their way among the ruins. The devotion to the young Jesus, the Light of the World, presents him as one who overcomes the darkness

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Once upon a time, actually, probably every day, new parents bring their precious bundle home from its birthing place, convinced that their child is the most precious baby in the world and they begin imaging all the great things this child will accomplish. As they share their dreams for their child with family and friends, there is always someone ready to throw a wet blanket on their expectations. One couple recounting this experience when they had their first child spoke of how indigent they became when anyone would suggest that, first of all, the child would someday make an independent decision about life choices and in addition to that, there undoubtedly would be limitations to what the child might accomplish. Then one day a visiting friend raved about how wonderful the baby was and how lucky they were to have this precious bundle. The friend then offered them this bit of advice, "Love your child with all your heart and soul. Give the child encouragement in whatever interests he displays. If you do that, you will know that you have been good parents. But if you try to live out your dreams through what you child does, through what he accomplishes, you will only be frustrated when your child makes his or her own life choices, especially if they are not the ones you had hoped to see".

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But if you try to live out your dreams through what you child does, through what he accomplishes, you will only be frustrated when your child makes his or her own life choices, especially if they are not the ones you had hoped to see
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