To read the texts click on the texts: Mal 3:1-4; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-40
1969, the ancient feast of the presentation of Our Lord, which is of Oriental
origin, was known in the West as the feast of the Purification of Our Lady, and
closed the Christmas season, forty days after the Lord's birth. However, today the focus is more on the Lord
than his mother and hence the feast is named The Presentation of The Lord.
Gospel text chosen for the feast of today consists of the presentation of Jesus
in the Temple, the purification of Mary and the Song of Simeon.
to Jewish law a woman became ceremonially unclean on the birth of a child.
During this time, she was not permitted to enter the Temple or touch any holy
object. On the eighth day the child was circumcised, after which the mother was
unclean an additional thirty-three days—sixty-six if the child was female. At
the conclusion of this period, the mother offered a sacrifice, either a lamb
or, if she was poor, two doves or two young pigeons. That Luke does not mention
a lamb but refers to two turtledoves or pigeons may indicate that Jesus was
born to the poor of Israel. In addition,
the first son was to be presented to the Lord as a reminder of the Exodus, and
then, bought back with an offering. Luke does not mention that Jesus was
redeemed either because he was not aware of this requirement or because he
wanted to convey that Jesus was constantly devoted or dedicated to the Lord. In
this part Luke emphasizes that the law of the Lord was fulfilled in all respects
at the birth of Jesus.
is introduced immediately after the presentation of Jesus and the purification
of Mary. He too like Zechariah and Elizabeth is described as “righteous”. He is
also “devout”. He looked forward to the restoration of the people and the
fulfillment of God’s redemptive work. The Spirit, who had revealed to him that
he would not see death until he saw the anointed one of God, is the same Spirit
who rests on him and gives him utterance to speak.
hymn of praise of God is known as the “Nunc Dimittis” (“Now Dismiss”). It is
only loosely related to the occasion of the birth of Jesus. It declares the
praise of God for faithfulness and the redemption of the people. Though some
interpret “now you are dismissing your servant in peace” to mean that Simeon
was now prepared to die, it can also mean that he recognizes that he is being
released from his mission to watch for the coming of the Messiah because he has
now seen the coming of the one who will bring salvation. His blessing relates the birth of Jesus to
the fulfillment of the promise of salvation and looks ahead to the inclusion of
all peoples in the experience of the blessings of God. Even as the parents of
Jesus wonder at what is being said by Simeon, he blesses them and then
addresses Mary, the mother of Jesus. He speaks about the coming rejection of
Jesus. Not everyone will want to see the light, not everyone will want to
receive the salvation by God for all peoples. Not everyone will recognize God
coming in Jesus. Jesus will be rejected and treated as someone to be opposed.
Even his mother will have to share in his sufferings.
came not to make us comfortable but to wake us up from our sleep and this is
what Simeon had prophesied. He came to challenge our way of looking at the
world. This challenge is not easy to accept because it means that many of our
preconceived ideas and notions will have to be given up and we will have to
start anew. It is easier and more comfortable to live the selfish and
self-centered lives that we are used to rather than be concerned about others.
It is easier to be caught up in our own small worlds, rather than get out of
our wells and see that life is much more than simply having more.