When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him. Luke 2:39-40
As we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord—an ancient feast in the Church, and the one that traditionally marked the close of the Christmas season—we are presented with the good example of the Holy Family. As is the case in all the gospel stories, we learn from the Lord Jesus and all those associated closely with Him (like Holy Mary and St. Joseph). At the end of the Presentation we witness the Holy Family carrying out the “prescriptions of the law of the Lord” in a timely fashion. They have carried out the plans of God regarding the birth of Jesus one step at a time, without hurry, and without delay: The Annunciation; the visitation to Elizabeth; the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem; the Epiphany; and now the Presentation in the Temple. Each of these events had their proper moment in the history of salvation, and each is carried out at that proper moment.
The Presentation of the Lord is therefore a good occasion for each of us to consider our own vocation. The Lord has chosen us to carry out specific purposes throughout our lives. Sometimes we can think that our vocation is a kind of “one shot deal”: we receive it, and we just live it out. I like to think of our vocation as a kind of journey, made up of many different stages and moments in which God is asking us to be generous, and to simply carry out the duties of each moment. In fact, our lives comprise a collection of demands and duties, which, when carried out with love, become, in the words of St. Josemaria Escriva, a kind of tapestry we will contemplate forever in Heaven. Until then, let’s fulfill those duties of each moment!