Homily (Reflection) for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (2nd February, 2020) on the Gospel and the Feast
Ps 23:7-10 (R. v.10);
Lk 2:22-40 or Lk 2:22-32.
We celebrate today the close of the Christmas festival of light. We recall that holy day Jesus was presented in the temple in accordance with the Law of Moses, cf. Ex 13:2, 12; 34:19, 20; Lk 2:23. Jesus is also entering the temple today to meet His faithful people. Hence, Christians enter the church today with lighted candles which symbolically represent true lives of Christians, cf. Matt 5:14; 25:1-13; Phil 2:15. Today is also known by other names which include Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, and the Meeting of the Lord. This is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.
Topic: You are God’s.
We read in today’s gospel how Jesus was presented in the temple with two turtle doves prescribed for those who could not afford a sheep, cf. Lev 5:7; 12:8. During His presentation, Simeon whom the bible describes as righteous and devout came into the temple guided by the Holy Spirit. He took the child in his arms and praised God.
His parents were amazed at what was said about Jesus. Holy Simeon blessed them and prophesied to Mary,
This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too (Lk 2:34-35).
Prophet Anna also came in and praised God. She too spoke about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem, cf. Lk 2:36-38.
Today’s feast is in line with God’s words: “Consecrate to me all the firstborn; whatever is the first to open the womb among the Israelites, of human beings and animals, is mine” (Ex 13:2).
We all have been bought with a price, cf. 1Cor 6:20. 7:23. As a result of this fact, we are not our own, cf. 1Cor 6:19. In other words, just as every first born in Israel is set apart for God, each and every one of us is also set apart for God not just because we have been bought but also because each of us is a firstborn, Heb 12:22-23; Jas 1:18; Rom 8:23. Therefore, in today’s feast we present ourselves to Christ who paid for our sins with His life, cf. 1Cor 15:3; Gal 1:4; 1Jn 2:2. 4:10. Thus Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans pleads, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God...” (Rom 12:1).
As we enter the temple today, we must present ourselves too as people approved by God, workmen who have no need to be ashamed, cf. 2Tim 2:15. God is waiting for you and me at the temple of our hearts. Remember His words, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20). So we are to either open our hearts for Jesus to entre or shut Him out. Jesus exhorts us, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (Jn 14:23). He is pleading with each and every one of us to harden our hearts no longer, cf. Ps 95:8; Heb 3:7-8. Although God is slow to anger, but He will not clear the guilty, cf. Nah 1:3. It will be terrible for anyone who refused to open his/her heart to Jesus. The prophet questions, “Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him” (Nah 1:6).
Bible Reading: Lev 12:1-8; Matt 5:14-16; 25:1-13; 1Cor 6:12-20; Heb 3:7-19.
Silent Prayer: You are a firstborn son/daughter.
Let us Pray: Lord, we implore You to accept us as we present ourselves to You on the feast of the Presentation of Your Son – Amen.
Lord Jesus – Have mercy on us.
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