Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's fitting, isn't it, that today's feast of the Presentation of Mary now cedes to the Feast of Christ the King? Mary always leads us to her Son!
I was thinking about the feast of the Presentation, one of the few days on the liturgical calendar that owes its origin to an apocryphal story. I mean, the "Proto-evangelium of St. James" is pretty outlandish in parts, and the little story of the Blessed Virgin as little more than a toddler going to live in the Temple has no historical foundation whatever. If anything, it shows you how far the Christians had gone from their Jewish roots, and how early that happened (the book was written around 140-165 AD). On the other hand, this fanciful tale still teaches us something totally reliable, and does it through biblical allusion. Remember the story of three-year-old Samuel, presented at the temple of Shilo to be raised there by the priest, Eli? Samuel is the one who was roused from sleep by a voice in the temple calling him by name. And his answer could just as well have come from Mary's lips: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening."