Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Zacchaeus climbed the sycamore tree to see Jesus pass by. He could have stood in the middle of the crowd, but something urged him on; he wanted more.
Jesus said to the crowd about Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.”
The first reading from the Old Testament tells the story of Eleazar. Eleazar sacrificed his life in his old age to show younger men that integrity in one’s belief in the commands of God is more important than life itself. He could have easily escaped his fate, but something called him to do more.
Today, we celebrate the memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Again, Mary’s parents are called to do more to show their gratitude to God for giving them a daughter. They offer three-year-old Mary to the service of God. I do not understand the day’s customs, but that must have been an unusual thing to do. When she turned 12, her days at the Temple were over.
In the Protoevangelium of Saint James (an apocryphal writing not part of the canon of Sacred Scripture), we hear Mary was betrothed to an elderly widower named Joseph. Joseph was called to protect the life and virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And he did so, even at the risk of his own life, when he was accused of violating Mary before they were married. Mary, too, was charged with violating her vows. These people did extraordinary things for the honor of God.
I find myself in multiple ministries and wonder if I am doing too much. I have turned down some activities, but I felt called to work in the ministries I am involved in. Do you sometimes hear a calling to climb that sycamore tree?
Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”