The Presentation of the Lord
Book of the Prophet Malachi 3:1-4, Psalm 24:7-10, Hebrews 2:14-18 & Luke 2:22-40
Today’s feast, the Presentation of the Lord, commemorates the Jewish ritual in which a mother comes to the temple to be purified forty days after giving birth to her child. Accordingly, Mary and Joseph come to the temple with the baby Jesus for the prescribed purification.
The Gospel narrative of Saint Luke tells us that the holy family met Simeon and Anna in the temple. Simeon, a man led by the Spirit, had been longing for the salvation promised by God. When he saw the holy family, he took the infant Jesus into his arms and prayed with great passion and intensity. He thanked God for the joy of meeting the long-awaited source of salvation for the whole world. He recognized Jesus as both the glory of Israel and the “light” to the Gentiles. Anna also recognizes the child Jesus as a source of great joy because of the redemption that will come to the world because of Him.
Personally, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is a wonderful celebration for the liturgical period we call Ordinary Time. In it, Jesus is presented in all His “ordinariness.” He is just another infant, and His parents are poor, and they meet ordinary folks in the Temple, including Simeon and Anna. When they leave Jerusalem to return to Nazareth, Jesus continues the “hidden” life about which we know so little from the Gospels. Only after thirty years does Jesus open the public dimension of His life. His public life is the familiar territory of the Gospels; it includes inviting disciples to join in His work, a ministry in Galilee, and the long journey back to Jerusalem where He completes His life in His passion and death, and, finally the resurrection by the power of His Father.
Jesus teaches us above all that the extraordinary is found in the ordinary. His was indeed an extraordinary life from beginning to end. It was extraordinary precisely because of His faithfulness to the ordinary occurrences and events of life.
Question of the Day: How will you ask Jesus to help you be thankful for the lessons He teaches through His “hidden” life and your faithfulness to the ordinary?
Prayer: Lord, let me see that you are found in the ordinary, everyday events of my life. Let me consider my everyday life with its joys and sorrows as crucially important because that is where I experience your life-giving presence. Amen.