“My eyes have seen Your salvation…”
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (February 2, 2019): MAL 3:1-4; PS 24:7,8,9,10; HEB 2:14-18; LK 2:22-40
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Today we commemorate the first time Jesus was brought to the temple at Jerusalem.
This feast day actually recalls two events: the presentation of Christ and the purification of Mary. In both, we see the complete fidelity of the Holy Family to the Jewish law. We also meet two other faithful people of God: Simeon and Anna. They were devout elderly people who spent their days in the temple worshipping God. Indeed, the Holy Spirit had promised Simeon that before he died, he would see the Messiah. So now, when he saw Joseph, Mary and the Holy Infant he knew who He was. “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)’” (Luke 2:34-35).
The encounter with Simeon must have brought joy and amazement to Mary and Joseph at the recognition of Jesus by this holy man. Yet it clearly brought sorrow as well. He predicted that Mary’s heart would suffer and that her beloved Son, the Son of God, would be a sign of contradiction to the people of Israel and the world. The Blessed Mother must have already realized that God’s plans would never be easy or simple for her and her family. But she and her husband had already pledged their loyalty to the Heavenly Father’s will – no matter what that meant. Before they went on their way, they heard Anna thanking God and proclaiming Jesus to all who awaited the redemption of their people. We, too, need to recognize that Christ brings us exactly what we need, not what we think we want or believe we deserve. He brings mercy and salvation.