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.
Today the Church celebrates the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple. This is a beautiful story and another epiphany moment (revelation that Jesus is the Lord). There are three parts of the story that I’d like to relate to our lives.
- Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple because they followed closely the laws of their Jewish faith. They were dedicating their child to God the Father. They were blessed by God with this child and wanted to give God thanks and praise. We too are called to thank God for all of the blessings in our lives. Like Mary and Joseph we should dedicate our children to God the Father. We can also dedicate ourselves (mind, body, soul, gifts, talents, time) to God that we may use the gifts and talents He has given us for His greater glory.
- Simeon was a holy man who had been promised by God that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. So Simeon daily went with anticipation to the temple in order to see the Light for all nations. One day this promise was fulfilled. As soon as he saw this little child in Mary’s arms, Simeon was inspired by the Holy Spirit to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. May we be guided by the Holy Spirit, like Simeon, to look with anticipation for Jesus’ presence in our lives. He is present in every person we encounter. He is present in the breaking of the bread. He is present in His holy Word. Lord, give us the eyes of Simeon.
- Finally, Anna was a prophetess who spent all of her time in the temple in prayer and fasting. When she saw Jesus she gave thanks and praise to God and she went and spoke to all who would listen about this Jesus. Like Anna, may we too seek Jesus constantly. And may we have the missionary courage of Anna to share the Good News with all that we meet once we have encountered the risen Christ. Lord, give us the heart and missionary zeal of Anna.
Take time spending time with this story. Put yourself in the scene. Look into the eyes of the Christ child. What do see in His eyes?
Do I seek Jesus constantly in every moment of my life?
Do I offer my children and all my gifts and talents to the Lord?
Have a blessed day!