Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, February 2
With the Help of God’s Grace, May We Never Cease to Hope and Trust in His Promises, for It Is the Holy Spirit Who Dwells within Each One of Us, Helping Us to Always Recognize God’s Saving and Loving Presence in Our Lives.
“Who is this king of glory? The Lord of hosts; he is the king of glory.” – a hymn of praise which we find in today’s Responsorial Psalm, a hymn in which we give God the glory which is His due, and which we hear repeated in a special way in today’s Gospel Reading!
It has been forty days since Christmas, and it was the custom according to the Mosaic Law for a woman, who had given birth to a male child and was considered to be ritually unclean for forty days, to present herself to the priests and offer sacrifice for her purification.
And it was also the custom under the Law for parents to present their first-born child to God after his birth. For in the Book of Exodus, we read, “Consecrate to me every first-born that opens the womb among the Israelites, both of man and beast, for it belongs to me.”
Today, the Church commemorates this event in the life of Jesus, as we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas Day, as this celebration emphasizes Jesus’ first appearance in the Temple – not in all His Kingly Glory, but as a humble guest to His Father’s House.
And we read in Luke’s account of the Gospel how Jesus was welcomed in the Temple by two elderly people, Simeon and the widow Anna. We look upon both Simeon and Anna as the embodiment of Israel in their patient expectation, in their acknowledgement of the Infant Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.
When Mary and Joseph presented the Infant Jesus, Simeon immediately recognized the Lord’s Presence! Through eyes of faith and filled with the Holy Spirit, he speaks of the Infant as the fulfillment of all the Messianic prophecies, hopes, and prayers of the people of Israel, “…my eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel.”
Through Divine inspiration, he also prophesied that Jesus was to be a revealing Light to the Gentiles, for Jesus came not only as Light and Salvation for the Israelites, but for all nations and all peoples as well.
He then turns to Mary and quietly says, “…this child is destined for the fall and rise of many…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.”
And we read about how the prophetess Anna “…gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.” Anna, like Simeon, was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation – believing that God would fulfill all His promises. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she was found day and night in the Temple, attending to the Lord in both prayer and fasting. She sees the Infant Jesus and cannot contain her joy.
And it is this joy which we share in common, a faith which teaches us that our Lord was always inviting His followers then, and each one of us today, into a renewed and more intimate and loving relationship with His Father.
He did this by always respecting the principles upon which the Jewish faith was based, always respecting the spirit of the Mosaic Law. Mary and Joseph followed that Law and, in this recorded act of official piety, they start their Son on His first steps in fulfilling the life for which He was born.
Mary and Joseph, despite the hardships of their day, made the extra effort in fulfilling the will of God in their lives, in living their faith according to the Law of Moses – all for God’s greater honor and glory. Theirs was an act of humility and love, just as the Incarnation and Birth of Jesus was also an act of Divine Humility and Divine Love.
This act of faith which Mary and Joseph exhibited, and the very presence of the Almighty, the God of all creation in the frailty of the Divine Infant, should give each of us pause to look into our own lives. In this world in which we live today, how do we see ourselves in the way we live our life of faith daily – the faith which you and I profess?
As we look upon the innocence and the frailty of this Infant Child, this newborn Babe only forty days old, we are reminded in John’s Gospel, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
And in our Second Reading today from the Letter to the Hebrews, we read, “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.”
The Son of God embraced what we are now, so that we may one day embrace all that He invites us to be – sharing in His Eternal Glory!
Through the Incarnation of the Son of God, having become man like us, experiencing all that we experience except sin, our faith gives us a lasting hope! Death no longer has power over us, for our faith teaches us that life, on this side of the eternal, is but a journey upon which each of us must travel.
For our true hope, our true expectation exists in that eternal doorway which takes us from all that we experience here in this life to the fullness of life that is yet to be, a life that is beyond human understanding or description, for it is the perfection of what life is meant to be, walking hand-in-hand with our Most Loving God Himself!
With the help of God’s grace, may we never cease to hope and trust in His promises. And may the Holy Spirit, who dwells within each one of us – enlightening us, guiding us, inspiring and sanctifying us – help us to always recognize His saving Presence in our lives.
And may our journey of faith echo the words of our psalmist today, “Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may come in! Who is this king of glory? The Lord of hosts; He is the king of glory”!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “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.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
- “To this day, in fact, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed…All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:15-16, 18)
- “For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6)
- “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-23a, 25)
- “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
- “…my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32)
- “Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter! …Who is this king of glory? The Lord of hosts; he is the king of glory” (Psalm 24:7, 10)
Prayer for the Day
“Dearest Holy Spirit,
teach me to know and seek my last end;
please grant me the holy fear of God;
grant me true contrition and patience
and do not let me fall into sin.
“Give me an increase of faith, hope and charity,
and bring forth in my soul
all the virtues proper to my state in life.
“I ask that You make me a faithful disciple of Jesus
and an obedient child of the Church.
Give me the grace sufficient to keep the Commandments
and to always receive the Sacraments worthily.
“I pray that You please grant me the four Cardinal Virtues,
Your Seven Gifts, Your Twelve Fruits.
Raise me to perfection in the state of life
to which You have called me,
and lead me through a happy death to everlasting life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”Saint Augustine