Somebody once said that although we are made in the image and likeness of God, we have been reversing things ever since! There is some truth to that, I think. God is God! We’re not. Our role is simply to grasp who God actually is and, as best we can, live our lives in service to Him and one another.
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple does not appear in Sacred Scripture but in one of the Apocryphal writings: the Protoevangelium of James, an attempt to fill in blanks in the gospel story. The Eastern Church had this feast on their calendar very early on. What the story is supposed to tell us is that Mary was dedicated to God from very early on in her life. We, too, are dedicated to God early on in our lives too. Like Mary, we need to “hear God’s word and keep.” As St. Augustine says in the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours, Mary was the first disciple of Christ, her Son.
It is interesting that we celebrate a saint who started as a soldier in the Roman legions in the 4th Century on Veterans Day in the 21st century. Martin of Tours quit the army and became a pacifist, a monk, and a Bishop. He was known for his charity and ability to deal with people. He was much beloved. The story goes that one day he saw a freezing, unclad beggar. He cut his cloak in half and gave it to the beggar.
Today is a new Optional Memorial for John XXIII. “Good old Pope John” was like one’s favorite grandfather. Warm and a person of the people, he “smelled like his sheep.” He had a wonderful sense of humor. The story goes that one day there was a tour of people going through the Vatican and one asked him how many people worked at the Vatican. The Pope replied, “Oh, about half!” I feel blessed to have attended the seminary that bears his name.
“What you bring away from the Bible depends to some extent on what you carry into it.” Oliver Wendell Holmes
“Love the holy Scriptures, and wisdom will love you. Love wisdom, and she will keep you safe. Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” St Jerome. Jerome was known for his bad temper as well as his scholarly knowledge of languages. St. Augustine once wrote that if Jerome was ignorant of something then no mortal knows it. He had running feuds with various people including, for a time, St. Augustine himself. But, Jerome is most remembered for his translation of the Bible into Latin know as the “Vulgate” which, for a time, was the authorized translation of the Roman Catholic Church. Learn love of Scripture from him.
Angels-messengers from God-appear- frequently in Sacred Scripture. Three are Arch or “Chief” angels sent for very important reasons. Michael (“Who is like God?”), Gabriel (“God’s strength”), and Raphael (“God’s remedy). Each performs a different function in Scripture: Michael protects, Gabriel announces, and Raphael guides. Can you sense God’s protection and guidance in ways that defy description?