When Adam and Eve sinned and separated themselves from God, they cut off the only link that could help them reconcile themselves with God. It was up to them to make amends for their sin, but how? The one whom they offended was invisible to them, now. They created a deep and wide chasm between God and themselves, a chasm no human could bridge and there was no sacrificial offering they could make that would bridge the chasm and reconnect them to God. Mankind was isolated.
In today’s second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, we hear that Jesus had to become like His brothers and sisters in every way. Why? Mankind caused the damage and, like any offense by one person to another, the offender is responsible for healing the damage, or, at least, begin the process. Mankind created its own isolation but was helpless and incapable of bridging the rift. Our merciful and loving God rescued us by becoming human.
This is the essence of our salvation. Jesus joins His divine nature to our human nature – it is a union that is inseparable, He is one person with two natures and, as such, is the only one who can offer the perfect sacrifice to the Father and bridge the chasm created by Adam and Eve’s sin. In His own words, He is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6) He is our only one true hope.
The beauty of today’s Gospel is it’s depiction of Christ’s dual natures even in His infancy. The ritual of purification is a common one but some theologians argue that it may not have been necessary since the birth of Jesus did not break Mary’s virginity. Church Fathers declare that His birth was like light, passing through glass. Nonetheless, He became one of us in every way. Simeon and Anna, on the other hand, were given the vision to see beyond His humanity and give thanks to God, in advance, for the gift of redemption that would come later, but for now, the Holy Family returns to their own town of Nazareth.