Reflection for the Presentation of the Lord.


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First Reading
Malachi 3:1-4

Thus says the Lord God: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord. Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord, as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Second Reading
Hebrews 2:14-18

Since the children share in blood and flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Gospel Cycle Cycle A
Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted –and you yourself a sword will pierce–so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

It is not very often that this Feast of the Lord falls on the Sunday. Nevertheless it is a Feast that we can all enjoy. It is a Feast of Light. It is a Feast that for many years was considered the real end of the Christmas celebrations. It is a Feast that was for many years thought of as a Feast of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It is a Feast for old people.

The prophecy of Malachi tells us that suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Those who were waiting for the Lord and for a Savior could never have imagined that it was this baby coming into the temple that fulfills this prophecy. So often this is the way of our God: a surprise with complete love but a totally unexpected fulfillment of His word.

The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way. This reflects again this tremendous mystery that God takes on our flesh, God becomes one of us, God the almighty becomes a child in the womb and is born for us. Today that child is presented in the temple, like any normal child would have been. Jesus is truly human and truly God. Jesus is human in every aspect of His life, just as we are, except that He does not sin.

The Gospel today is from Luke and tells the story of the presentation in the temple. This is where we meet the old people who have stayed in the temple, waiting for a Messiah, waiting for the Lord to send salvation for His people. It is a lesson for us because these old people have been praying and because of their spiritual gifts are able to recognize the Lord in this child.

Simeon knew from a prophecy that the Lord would come to the temple. Surely he was not expecting this 40 day old child! Yet Simeon is able to recognize in this child, the Savior of the world. This can encourage us to pray and to become old praying. The more we pray, the more we see in the spiritual world.

Anna is another model of old age. She had no prophecy ahead of time but recognizes this child as the Redeemer and gives thanks to God. Once more we are reminded to keep praying and to trust in the Lord. God never abandons His people. Salvation and Redemption are at work today in our lives and in our world, even when we seem blind to these realities. Not all recognized the Savior and Redeemer in the child Jesus. Not all can see the work of God today. Let us rejoice in the gift of faith.

This entry was posted in Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Biblical Reflection. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Reflection for the Presentation of the Lord.

  1. The Mercy of the Lord our Father who art in heaven in the name of Jesus Christ His only begotten Son! Give thanks and praise. Amen.


  2. Robert John Bennett says:

    These essays always contain a concise expression of a tremendous truth, such as:

    “The more we pray, the more we see in the spiritual world.”


  3. Mary Salmond says:

    Excellent thought. how could Anna & Simeon have recognized Jesus! ?? Amazing!


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