On the 2nd of February, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This occurs 40 days after the Birth of Jesus. Before the revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar, this date indicated the end of the Christmas period. Some Catholics, uphold the tradition of keeping Christmas decorations, including the Nativity scene, on display until this day. This day is also called ‘Candlemas’, and was formerly known as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Roman Catholic Church.
Both Mary and Joseph returned to the Temple to make an offering to God of Thanksgiving, in recognition that their Son, Jesus, was a gift from God. The offering required, by Law, a Lamb and a Pigeon, however if families could not afford a lamb, a second Pigeon would be accepted. As we know Mary and Joseph weren’t well-off when it came to money, the pair of Pigeons was accepted from them. Simeon and Anna, both encouraged by the Holy Spirit to go to the Temple on this day, expressed to Mary and Joseph just how much Jesus will impact the world, during his lifetime, to this very day and beyond.
5 lessons can be learned from this story.
- The Importance of Patience – Simeon and Anna waited for most of their lives for the day the salvation would be served in the form of a Messiah. Although they had confidence in God, they were patiently waiting for this promise to be fulfilled.
- The Importance of Praise – As you could imagine, this day was full of Joy. After patiently waiting for Decades for this day to come, the day of Salvation had finally arrived. Simeon says “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
- The Importance of Prophecy – As Simon blesses Jesus, he says “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Although this seems like a despondent thing to say at such a Joyous time, Simeon was speaking God’s truth.
- The Importance of Prayer – In this story, Anna spends day and night in this Temple worshiping and praying. She was then shown her promise of the reveal of the Messiah. This story shows us just how much a relationship with God is dependant on praise and prayer.
- The Importance of Purpose – Anna and Simeon knew their purpose in life was found through worshiping God.
First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 24:7, 8, 9, 10
Second Reading: Hebrews 2: 14-18
Alleluia: Luke 2:32
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40 or Luke 2:22-32