Thought for the Day – 2 February – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Purification of Our Lady
“Today, the Church commemorates the Presentatio of the Child Jesus in the temple ad the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
These ceremonies were carried out, in order to comply with a twofold Mosaic law.
One part of this law referred to women who had become mothers; the other pat was concerned with first-born male children.
According to the first law, a mother was officially regarded as impure for forty days after she had given birth to a child.
When this period was over, she had to present herself in the temple and make an offering of a lamb and a turtledove.
If she were poor, she could substitute a second young pigeon for the lamb (Cf Lev 12).
The second law (Cf Es 13:2, 34:19; Num 8:16; Lev 27:26) commanded the mother to offer and consecrate to God, her first-born son.
She was to do this in memory of the miracle in Egypt when the Angel of God destroyed all the first-born sons of the people of the country and spared those of the Israelites.
In later times, when the ritual worship of God became the special obligation of the tribe of Levi, the first-born sons of the other tribes, had to be presented in the temple and bought back by an offering.
It is quite clear, that Jesus and Mary were not bound by this twofold law.
But they voluntarily subjected themselves to it, in order to give an example of humility and obedience.”