The Presentation of Mary, the Presentation of Her Son
Wednesday November 21, 2001 (Audio) Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Presentation of Mary
Reading (2 Maccabees 7:1, 20-31) Gospel (St. Luke 19:11-28)
Today, as we hear this beautiful story about the mother and her seven sons from the Second Book of Maccabees, all that we can really think about is Our Lady Ė the other woman who brought her Son to the point that he was to be executed, a woman who stood right there and encouraged her Son just as this mother had done. Yet it is even more extraordinary when we consider Our Lady because she, of course, knew that her Son was God; she knew that her Son was the King whom the people despised, the King whom they did not want to have reigning over them. And yet, the same King is the one who has entrusted each one of us with the various talents.
We look at Our Blessed Lady, whom we consider today in her presentation as she was given by her parents to God. This is a young lady who used every single talent that she had. If we look at that first person who came in and said, "My lord, you gave me ten and it has netted ten," I think with Our Lady we can say that whatever God gave to her, she not only doubled it, but she did far, far more than that; in fact, what she did was infinite. Just as this mother could say from Maccabees: "I do not know how you came into existence in my womb. It was not I who gave you the breath of lifeÖ" [for Our Lady] it was just the opposite: It was He who gave her the breath of life and yet she was given the talent and gave birth to God. God gave her a finite ability and she returned something infinite to God. Yet even with that infinite gift that she now had, she was willing to offer that to God: to offer Himself back to Himself, and to be able to offer God the infinite Gift for each one of us who sometimes, unfortunately, are even going to bury the talent that we have been given in the ground.
When we think about this exchange that Our Lady made with her own Son, to be able to offer Him for us, to be able to receive Him into herself and to give birth to the King of kings and the Lord of lords, it is only in this that we can really understand the love of this extraordinary mother. As we celebrate today her presentation in the temple, the day her parents presented her to God, we cannot help but reflect upon what she did in return: not only presenting her Son in the temple, but presenting her Son on the Cross so that her Son would be presented to each one of us.
And if we think, then, about what it is that God wants to do with us, His Son, now, is the ultimate talent that has been given to each one of us and God has placed His Son within each one of us. The question is Ė what are we going to do with that gift? Our Lady received her Son in her womb and what she gave back to God was infinite. We cannot take this talent and bury it. Imagine standing before the Lord and saying, "My Lord, You gave me Your Son in the depths of my heart, but I knew that You were a hard man so I just kept Him buried there and I didnít let anybody else know that He was there. In fact, I didnít even do anything with Him myself." Instead, we need to be like Our Lady: We need to receive Our Lord and we need to give Him back to God as an infinite gift. Just like Our Lady and just like this woman we can say, "I donít know and I donít understand how it is that He came to be within the depths of my heart. But it is God who created all the order of creation - put it all into order and created everything that exists - and it is He who has put His own Son and the Son of Our Blessed Lady into each one of us." Now, each one of us must accept that gift and we must use that gift for the greater glory of God Ė not bury it, not only return it with a little bit of interest, but be able to offer to God an infinite gift, which He has already offered to each one of us.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.