February 2, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Luke 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. Ivan Joseph Feniquito):

      Today we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. This is also the World Day for Consecrated and Religious Life. In today’s Gospel, Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem for the rite of purification because according to the prescriptions of the Law of Moses, a woman who bore a child was unclean. However, Mary could be exempted to the law for she conceived without any relationship with a man. But she submitted herself to the Law to show that Jesus, her son belongs to the chosen people of God.

       There were two elders of the temple who recognized the presence of the Messiah. Both Simeon and Anna, who were righteous and obedient to God’s will, had been waiting for their whole life long for the coming of the Savior. These two elders experienced joy and happiness praising God for the wonderful blessing that they received. Like Simeon and Anna who persevered in piety and humility will be blessed by God in the appropriate time. They faithfully and religiously waited for the coming of the Messiah.

     As we celebrate the World Day of Consecrated and Religious Life, Simeon and Anna are exemplars of living in a consecrated and religious life through prayer and selfless service. I have realized that the Gospel for today invites me to live a consecrated and religious life for God. In the seminary formation, we are being formed to become a good and holy person in order for us to recognize the presence and the revelation of the unconditional love of God. I need to be a man of prayer, faithful, vigilant in waiting and experiencing God’s loving presence. I have experienced a lot of acts of thanksgiving with profound joy because of the divine blessings that I received from God. Now, it is an invitation for me to do my part; to extend and share the blessings, graces and the love of God to other people.

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