Gospel Reading and Thoughts of February 2, 2014

Feast of the Presentation of Christpresentation

Gospel – 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.


This is such a rich and beautiful gospel to ponder.  Take yourselves back two thousand years ago where a young couple with a new baby, following the prescribed holy law, go to the temple to present their first-born son to God.  They are giving the first-fruit of their lives back to the Lord by consecrating him to God.  They have paid their fee to purchase the sacrifice for the consecration.

On their way in, they meet a devout man who spent much time in the temple.  Simeon knew right away what Mary and Joseph only suspected – that Jesus was going to be a savior to the world.  Perhaps Mary didn’t want to think about that as she held a sweet and helpless baby.  And when Simeon told her that her own heart would be pierced, Mary likely knew what would most break her heart – her baby Jesus being harmed in any way.  Yet, she had accepted God’’s gift and knew better than most, that He would take care of everything – He had a plan for Jesus life and death far beyond anything fathomable by human hearts.

And Anna – what a beautiful example of a devout woman!  She was called a prophetess, but really to prophesy just means to be able to discern God’s will for her own life and for others.  And she likely spent enough time with Him to know his will – if she married at the normal age of Jewish woman, she was widowed by the age of 21 and then spent everyday for the next 63 years praying in the temple!  Her glance must have passed over many babies before finally spotting the one predestined to bring about redemption to mankind!

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