Catholics remember today a significant event in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary – her presentation in the Temple by her parents, Joachim and Anne. As with Mary’s nativity, we encounter Mary’s presentation in the temple not in the canonical gospels but only in apocryphal manuscripts. The protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to fulfill a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.
Today’s commemoration of this event highlights the other Marian celebrations in the liturgical calendar – the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the Birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond. God had prepared Mary to be the mother of Jesus, his Son.
We realize in today’s feast that from the beginning of her life, Mary was dedicated to God. She herself became a greater temple, a dwelling place of the Son of God. God came to dwell in her in a marvelous manner and sanctified her for her unique role in God’s saving work. Her “yes” to God’s plan of salvation paved the way for the Savior to proclaim the good news of the kingdom in our midst. Her complete love and care for her Son made her a faithful disciple and witness to God’s manifold works.
Today’s celebration also motivates us to imitate Mary’s dedication to God. When we were baptized, we were dedicated to God and made holy and worthy heirs of the kingdom. Like Mary, let us always resolve to become living temples of God by allowing God to dwell in us.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary always inspire us to imitate her virtues and may she pray for us that we may be responsive to our baptismal calling to be messengers of God’s love.