Friends, our Gospel today celebrates the Presentation of the Lord in the temple. We are meant to understand that the glory of Yahweh is returning to the temple in the arms of Mary and Joseph, thus fulfilling one of the deepest aspirations of Israel’s people.
Now, there is more to this story than the return of the Lord to his temple. The Son of God, having taken to himself a human nature, is presented to the Father, and thereby the human race is brought back online. This little baby is the reconciliation of divinity and humanity, is the very essence of temple sacrifice.
At the climax of his life, this baby, now come of age, would enter the temple again. This time, he would pass judgment on it and declare his own body as the new temple. A few days later, on the cross, he would perform the final temple sacrifice, offering himself to the Father, even as he bore the sins of the human race.
The Presentation of Jesus in the temple, perfected on the cross, is re-presented every time the Mass is celebrated. The Presentation of the Lord goes on now in our churches, in our temples.