I remember a story about a serviceman deployed in the Iraq war. While on duty, he was exposed to military burn pits and regularly inhaled toxic trash smoke. When he returned from the war, that exposure had given him a lung disease. His wife tried to seek help from the military who refused to take responsibility and denied the wife’s claims. Frustrated, the veteran put a shotgun to his mouth one day to put everything to an end.
His service dog instantly jumped into action and bit his shorts knocking him off balance giving the wife time to get the gun. This brush with suicide spurred the wife with new energy to form a coalition and fight not only for her husband but for those, military or not, affected under similar conditions. Finally she was able to convince the authorities to secure benefits for those who had suffered. In the end for the wife and the husband it is a story of living for a purpose and accomplishing a mission. As for the man he had a mission to accomplish and for that he could not afford to take his life.
There are times more often than not where we feel frustrated with life, with what is going on. We may feel convinced that there is no purpose or meaning to life. With such familiar thoughts, consider the celebration we have today, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In line with her other celebrations like the Immaculate Conception and the Nativity, the celebration of Her Presentation reminds us that she was dedicated to God who sanctified her for the unique role expected of her in His saving work. It is also a reminder that we as this Mother’s children are also dedicated to and sanctified by God for a specific role in His saving work.
As in the first reading, God’s two witnesses will not see death until their mission is accomplished. After death they rise to eternal life. In the Gospel proclamation our Lord assures, that they are beyond earthly bounds and are like angels who never die.
Prayer: Abba Father, I dedicate myself to your call to share in your saving work. Help me persevere to the end. Amen.