February 2, 2013

The Gospel Today

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Lk 2: 22-40

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
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
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.

Reflection (Sem. Rolly C. Teng)

As I began my reflection in today’s Gospel I quickly remembered my experience when I was in Taize Community, in France. It was February 2, 2006 morning prayer.As I entered in the Church of Reconciliation I was surprised and wondered why there were two turtle doves inside the cage in the sanctuary. In my twenty-five years of existence here on earth, it was my first time to see a couple of doves offered on the altar. Before the prayer began, I really asked myself what liturgical celebration we commemorated during that time. I realized that it was the feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ at the temple.  During the prayer I was really amazed and grateful for that kind of practice.

Today we celebrate the same feast, the Presentation of our Lord Jesus in the Temple. As we all know during the time of Jesus, when they offer sacrifices in the temple, they use animals. It depends on the status of the offerer what kind of animal will be burnedas a symbol of their offerings. People offer animals in those times because they are asking God to bless their life. But this time it is different, it is Jesus who is being offered in the temple. Mary and Joseph bring Jesus in the temple to ask God to bless their son, Jesus. Through this presentation, Jesus is being prepared for his mission. Jesus is blessed by the Father who is in heaven that is why he is able to overcome all the sufferings on earth up to death on the cross.

How about us? How do we present our prayers and plans in life to God? Do we really ask God to bless our life, so that we can overcome all the sufferings here on earth?  When we ask God to bless us through our prayers, once again our love to God is being renewed. Through that simple action of prayer we simply show our dependence on God. We simply tell God that we need Him; we need His guidance and His blessings. We pray today that God may always bless our entire endeavor in life as we obey His will, to love Him more through our neighbors.

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