Meditation: Malachi 3:1-4
. . . refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord. (Malachi 3:3)
Today we celebrate Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus to the Temple to present him to God. The prophet Malachi foreshadowed this event when he spoke of the Holy One entering his Temple. He would purify his people so that they could offer a worthy sacrifice to God—which is exactly what Jesus had come to do. And he has come to do it for you.
As part of the priesthood of all believers, we have all been “refined” in Baptism so that our everyday lives and our worship at Mass can truly honor the Lord. Unfortunately, often we arrive at Mass feeling rushed or distracted by the concerns of our week. It can be hard just to pay attention, let alone offer “due sacrifice” (Malachi 3:4). So how can we offer our hearts to him more fully at Mass? One way is to let Jesus purify us just before the Liturgy begins.
Instead of arriving breathless during the opening hymn, try to come early enough to spend a few minutes in prayer. Examine your heart, and ask God to bring to mind one thing that may be blocking your path to holiness. It may be resentment toward someone who has disappointed you. Maybe you had harsh words for a family member earlier in the morning, and you are still stewing over the encounter. You may be distracted by all the items on your to-do list for the coming week. It’s important to see that legitimate concerns as well as sinful acts can detract from your worship.
When you have discovered that one thing, place it in the Lord’s hands. Repent if you need to. Set it aside, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you enter into the joy and worship of the Mass. Then do your best to fix your heart on the Lord. Tell him how holy he is and how much you love him. Ask him to bless your efforts.
Our worship won’t be perfect until we reach our heavenly home. But week after week, we can let Jesus draw us closer to that time when we, too, are refined as the purest gold and silver.
“Jesus, thank you for entering the temple of my heart. Lord, I place myself in your loving hands. ”
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