Fr MATTHEW KWAGHTAVER
In biblical times, it was stipulated by the Law of Moses that every firstborn child belonged to God and the parents had to buy him back on the fortieth day by presenting him to the temple and offering a sacrifice for his redemption (Ex.13:1-2, 11-15).This was also the time for purification of the mother of the baby (Lev.12:1-8). Joseph and Mary fulfilled this obligation by taking their baby to the temple in Jerusalem for presentation.
The presentation of Jesus teaches us two lessons. Firstly, children are a gift from God and we have to appreciate this fact by bringing them to the Church.
Of course, the Psalmist says; “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” (Ps.127:3).
Secondly, parents should take their parental responsibilities seriously, just like Mary and Joseph did by fulfilling the requirements of the Law for their son (Lk.2:22- 40).
A priest visited a prison and was talking to an 18-year-old boy, placing his hand on his shoulder, he said: “Hello, young fellow, what evil did you commit at such a tender age that has landed you in this jail?”
The young lad said: “Father, do not remove your hand from my shoulder and listen carefully to what I have to say.
“If my dad had to keep his hand, even once, on my shoulder, I would not have landed in this jail.
“Father,” he continued, “my parents never loved me, they never showed any concern or care for me, they never guided me, they never corrected me or punished me. I began my bad life by committing small but objectionable crimes and slowly I started committing big crimes until I became a seasoned criminal in my early days and landed in jail.
“Father, my only prayer now is that all parents should give timely corrections and guidance to their growing children and be good examples themselves.”
Children are very fragile and there is a need to handle them with care.
In view of this, the Parish Pastoral Team has decided to organise a workshop for young families. This is geared towards forming the parents so that they will be empowered to form their children both morally and spiritually.
To this effect, all young families are encouraged to avail themselves of this great opportunity by signing up for this workshop.