2 February 2019. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Reflection (Sem. Rodel D.O. Aclan)
In other parts of the Scriptures there are verses that say; “Ask and you shall receive, knock and it will be opened to you”, and so on. In the Gospel today, there is a parallel message – Wait and it will arrive. Simeon and Anna are both pious and righteous people. They had been waiting for the promised Messiah and they waited not only for few years but more than half of their lifetime. But God is good and faithful and He fulfilled His promise. When Jesus was presented in the temple, they saw Him. Jesus, the Messiah, had arrived.
In our world today where almost everything is instant, the word waiting has become a negative experience. To wait is to waste one’s time. To make others wait is a sign of one’s inefficiency. This is also true in my own daily experiences. In the seminary, we have an old computer desktop. Though it is still working, it runs slow and takes time for it to turn on. While waiting for it to finally turn on, I can’t help but think how old and inefficient it is.
Normally, it would take 10 years or more to finish priestly formation and people are amazed and admired men who undergo this lengthy process and not to mention the uncertainty of finally becoming a priest. What makes them endure the long wait? I think, Simeon and Anna can be an inspiration. How? Both of them are close to God. They spent their days waiting not alone, but with God. Actually, no time was wasted while they were waiting.
As we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, I am consoled that like the two prophets in the temple, the waiting is over. Jesus has arrived and will always be present in my life. Realizing this, now I no longer wait alone but with Him.
The Gospel Today
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and 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
Band you yourself a sword will pierceB
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.