Notice how the gospel narrative of the Presentation begins and ends with the law of Moses. Joseph and Mary are shown as faithful and devout. Yet, there in the Temple, during the rituals and encounters, something changes for them. The only word the entire Gospel uses to describe the reaction of Mary and Joseph is amazement. It is awe and wonder that lead us to faith. The amazement comes because of their encounter with the two prophets, and this creates a subtle shift from the Law to the Prophets, a rich Old Testament theme. It is not that they are contrary to one another, but that they supplement one another. It is the psalm then that proclaims Jesus as the King. So here in these readings we have the structure and system visible for us; it was the working together of priest, prophet, and king that created harmony and peace in ancient Israel. It is in our baptismal rites that the child, too, is called to be priest, prophet and king as was Jesus. This is not some pretty or empty comparison, but meant to bestow on the child being baptized what is to be his/her role in the company of the Church.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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