TEXT: And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22-24)
When Jesus was 40 days old, Mary and Joseph took Him to the temple to present Him to God and to offer a sacrifice as Moses' law commanded. This was the second thing any good Jewish parent did for a firstborn son who would grow up in the love of the Lord. Later on would come teaching about right and wrong, learning the stories of God's salvation, and so on. But Mary and Joseph had a good start raising Jesus already, before He was six weeks old.
You may have had the experience of raising children yourself, or of caring for them as a relative, godparent, or friend of the family. You know that it is not easy. We worry about our children. We do the best we can to prepare them for the difficult, broken world we live in. We pray, we teach them about God, and we love them. And we hope they will remain in the faith.
Sometimes that happens, and we rejoice. But sometimes we suffer heartbreak when the children we love so dearly go far away from the Lord, even renouncing their Baptism. God knows that heartbreak too. As much as we love them, He loves them even more.
This is our comfort. We love our prodigal children, and we know that God has planted seeds of faith in their hearts. Through Baptism, teaching, storytelling, prayer, and example, we have tried to lead them to Christ. Though they may be far from Him now, God is still calling them-calling them home to their Savior Jesus, who lived, died, and rose again, for their sake.
Meanwhile, we grieve. Take comfort in knowing that the God who came into this world "to seek and to save the lost" is still seeking your lost one also. (See Luke 19:10.) Both you and the one you love are dear to Him. Keep praying, waiting, and hoping.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, have mercy on everyone who has wandered away from You, and bring them safely home to You in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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