By Donna Toliver Grimes
Feast of the Holy Family
Genesis 15:1-6, 21:1-3 | Luke 2:22-40
Today we recall rituals old and new that publicly consecrated Jesus in his earthly life and ministry. His dedication and circumcision at the Temple in Jerusalem as an infant parallel his baptism in the Jordan River in Galilee as a young man.
These rituals are tiny but profound marks in a mysteriously multi-dimensional life, that exists always and without end, that is situated inside time and space, but is not bound by those dimensions. They underscore the unending flow of God’s will and declare God’s intention for each of us: “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).
What are the significant spiritual markers in our own lives? At what points were we consecrated to God? How have we grown and when was the favor of God upon us? To appreciate these punctuations in life, it may help to take the long view. Most likely there have been many small steps and some quantum leaps for us. We cannot see it all at this time. So, we thank God for whatever has been and for what lays ahead, confident that God’s will both flows through us and carries us safely, if not smoothly, to our destination. In the wise words of the people of Madagascar: “Love is like young rice: transplanted, still it grows.”
For reflection and action:
- Who initially presented you to God for consecration? Have there been others such as teachers, spouse, or friends who also consecrated you to God in your life and ministry?
- What meaning does baptism hold in your life today? Do you experience it as an event or process?
- Is there someone you wish to consecrate to God? Do so with prayer and words of direct encouragement.
This reflection is from Tell Them About the Times When Jesus Came: Reflections for Advent 2005, by Donna Toliver Grimes. She is the Poverty Education and Outreach Manager at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and a former PCUSA National Council member.