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By Fr. Maurice Meschler, Crisis Magazine, Feb. 2, 2022
Fr. Maurice Meschler was a German Jesuit who lived during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is known for his writings on the saints and the life of Christ.
Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a chapter in Father Meschler’s book, The Truth About Saint Joseph: Encountering the Most Hidden of Saints. It is available as an ebook or paperback from your favorite bookseller or through Sophia Institute Press.
About forty days had elapsed since the birth of our Savior at Bethlehem, and the time had now come when Jesus was to be presented to the Lord in the Temple, and the sacrifice was to be offered for the purification of the Mother. As an acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty over the Chosen People, whether as the source of all blessing in childbirth or as the liberator of Israel from Egyptian bondage, God had not only set aside the Levites as His peculiar property in place of the entire people, but ordained, moreover, that every firstborn child should be presented to Him and redeemed with five shekels. The presentation had to be performed by the father thirty days after the birth, or, in the case of a male child, even later (Exod. 13:2; 34:19; Num. 18:15); the mother, however, was obliged to free herself from legal stain forty days after childbirth by offering a lamb or, in the case of the poor, two doves (Lev. 12:6, 8). …