When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary brought the baby up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice as ordered in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law.
Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed God, saying, «Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for you have fulfilled your word and my eyes have seen your salvation, which you display for all the people to see. Here is the light you will reveal to the nations and the glory of your people Israel».
His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, «See him; he will be for the rise or fall of the multitudes of Israel. He shall stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your own soul. Then the secret thoughts of many may be brought to light».
There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father's home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew in stature and strength and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.
I invite you to discover in Jesus the humanity that God wanted to adopt and to learn to live the humanity of Jesus, our humanity humanly and fully. I also invite you to discover the divine works in humanity, especially in men who are faithful in listening to the Lord and sincere in their commitment.
The presentation of the Lord presents us the divinity of Jesus and at the same time his humanity. This feast projects into us these two elements which have been closely linked, very well integrated in us from the beginning of creation. The same God who acts in Jesus makes us discover his actions in the hearts of men.
This feast is ours, because it represents our own presentation to the Lord, which is required in baptism. Since God gives Himself in Jesus Christ, in Baptism we can give ourselves to God, faithfully keeping the light of the resurrection always on.
On this day of consecrated life, I invite you to share in the joy of Simeon and to pray for all consecrated persons, including the laity, who give themselves generously to the service of the Church, to the proclamation of the joy of the Gospel. Happy feast day to you all.
Action of the day : Try to live your baptism in a simple way. Thus you may be able to present yourself to God.
«Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace»
Fr. Lluís RAVENTÓS i Artés
Today, we see how Simeon, ignoring the winter's cold, is awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. Five hundred years before, when the Temple was starting to be built there was such poverty in the country that its builders were highly discouraged. It was the when Haggai, the prophet, said: «‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house’, says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace’, declares the Lord Almighty» (Hag 2:9); and added «I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory» (Hag 2:7). Words that admit different meanings; some will say «the dearest one», while saint Jeronim will say «the desired of all nations».
The Holy Spirit had assured Simeon «that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord» (Lk 2:26), and today, «led by the Holy Spirit» he has gone into the Temple. He is not a levite, nor a scribe, nor a doctor of the law, he is just «a very upright and devout man that looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel» (Lk 2:25). But the Holy Spirit blows where it wills (cf. Jn 3:8).
Now, he realizes with surprise that no preparation has been made, no flags, garlands, damasks or shields can be seen anywhere. Just Joseph and Mary, crossing the esplanade, and bringing de Child Jesus in their arms. «Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in» (Ps 24:), claims de psalmist.
Stretching his arms Simeon takes the Infant from his Mother and bless God while saying: «Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for you have fulfilled your word and my eyes have seen your salvation, which you display for all the people to see. Here is the light you will reveal to the nations and the glory of your people Israel» (Lk 2:29-32).