February 2, 2015

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. Al Pestaño):

There was a story that I read in one of the posts of my friend in Facebook regarding an angry woman who badmouthed another woman because dher seat at the airplane had been occupied by the other woman.  The way I remember the story, the airline company accidentally assigned two persons in that seat.  The angry woman kept on talking loudly while the other woman just kept silent.  To resolve the issue, one of the flight attendant approached the angry woman and told her that the management decided that one of them be upgraded in the business class, since there was still an available seat in the business class.  The angry woman immediately said thank you and when she was about to transfer to the business class, the flight attendant told her that it was not her who would be upgraded but the other woman.

Sometimes we are like that angry lady.  We kept on complaining because we feel that what is supposedly for us has not been given to us.  We grumble.  We demand that we be given priorities, honors, and respect.  We ask or we demand for something which is supposedly a privilege to some, but to us it is a right to receive some privileges.  This is what we call entitlement.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple.  Our Lord Jesus Christ need not be presented in the temple anymore as a customary practice during that period.  Jesus Christ was entitled to that.  That was supposedly His privilege as the Son of God.  But then again, His parents still presented Him in order to follow what was required of them.  The parents of Jesus did not seek for an entitlement for their Son.  Even Jesus did not seek it.  As St. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians (Phil 2:6 ff): “Though He was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God,” but rather Jesus remained humble and took the form of a slave.

Today, our Gospel is inviting us to look at ourselves, on how we live our life.  Do we also seek entitlement?  Do we demand that we be given special privileges and honors?  The challenge of the Gospel today is to live the way Jesus lived and the way Jesus lived His life here on earth is through the way of humility.  He never sought to be honored.  He lived among the poor.  He never demanded for anything.  Let us live a life in the spirit of humility because this is the way Jesus had lived His life.  If we want to truly encounter Jesus, we should remain humble.  Let us neither seek nor demand for honors and privileges because in the end, it is Jesus Himself who will give us the crown of honor on the day when we receive our final reward from God, because we chose to live the way Jesus lived.  Let us pray through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph that we may be able to persevere to live in humility until the end.

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