Scripture: Lectionary 524. The Presentation of the Lord in the Temple.
Malachai 3:1-4. Psalm 24:188.8.131.52. Hebrews 2:14-18. Luke 2:22-40
On this Feast of Our Lord which used to be also a Feast of Our Lady we have
an exceptional collection of Scriptural passages that are easily
nourishment for a contemplative prayer. There are moreover four people who
are saints who can help us to appreciate the presence of the Lord in the
Temple and help us also to receive him in our hearts as Simeon received him
from Mary’s arms into his arms. Joseph, Mary, Anna, and Simeon are there to
help us in this contemplative experience. The biblical scene easily
accommodates itself to such prayer; it is a splendid story developed by
Luke for our meditation and contemplation.
We need only to read it before the Eucharist in order to experience it at
the liturgy and then to return to it once more after the liturgy sometime
during the afternoon or evening. The scene is so full of symbolism and
color that we need not use our imaginations here. Luke does it for us. We
even could pray in our minds the fourth mystery of the Joyful set of the
Rosary as a mantra to help us enter into the contemplation of this mystery.
Forty days have passed since Christmas. Candles are blessed. Jesus is
presented to the Lord while Mary learns that her heart will be pierced
because of this child. We learn from her how to continue to live in the
presence of the Lord even when our hearts are broken, pierced, or deeply
sorrowful. The beautiful devotion of Our Lady of Sorrows has its origin in
this passage. Shrines are dedicated to this mystery. Luke is making it so
easy for us to meditate and even to contemplate its beauty of presentation.
All of the persons surrounding the child are filled with the Holy Spirit
the Sanctifier. So are we if we take the time to pray the mystery. The
place is sacred–the Temple in Jerusalem. All of the people are holy and
righteous. Simeon helps us to be patient as he was and finally found the
one he was waiting for. Mary and Joseph are amazed at what is being said
and what evolves in that sacred hour in the Temple. There the Presence of
God is felt. God is seen as Creator, Redeemer, and Father and Mother giving
us Jesus the one presented to God in the Temple. God loved us so much that
he gives us through Simeon’s arms his beloved Son. Mary does the same as
she hands him both to Simeon and the priest. It is worth our time to
reflect on what has transpired since Christmas on this fortieth day after
the birth of the Lord. Amen.