for Sunday, February 2, 2014
It is not very often that this Feast of the Lord falls on the Sunday.
Nevertheless it is a Feast that we can all enjoy. It is a Feast of Light.
It is a Feast that for many years was considered the real end of the
Christmas celebrations. It is a Feast that was for many years thought of
as a Feast of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It is a Feast for old people.
The prophecy of Malachi tells us that suddenly there will come to the
temple the Lord whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you
desire. Those who were waiting for the Lord and for a Savior could never
have imagined that it was this baby coming into the temple that fulfills
this prophecy. So often this is the way of our God: a surprise with
complete love but a totally unexpected fulfillment of His word.
The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus had to become like his
brothers and sisters in every way. This reflects again this tremendous
mystery that God takes on our flesh, God becomes one of us, God the
almighty becomes a child in the womb and is born for us. Today that child
is presented in the temple, like any normal child would have been. Jesus
is truly human and truly God. Jesus is human in every aspect of His life,
just as we are, except that He does not sin.
The Gospel today is from Luke and tells the story of the presentation in
the temple. This is where we meet the old people who have stayed in the
temple, waiting for a Messiah, waiting for the Lord to send salvation for
His people. It is a lesson for us because these old people have been
praying and because of their spiritual gifts are able to recognize the Lord
in this child.
Simeon knew from a prophecy that the Lord would come to the temple. Surely
he was not expecting this 40 day old child! Yet Simeon is able to
recognize in this child, the Savior of the world. This can encourage us to
pray and to become old praying. The more we pray, the more we see in the
Anna is another model of old age. She had no prophecy ahead of time but
recognizes this child as the Redeemer and gives thanks to God. Once more
we are reminded to keep praying and to trust in the Lord. God never
abandons His people. Salvation and Redemption are at work today in our
lives and in our world, even when we seem blind to these realities. Not
all recognized the Savior and Redeemer in the child Jesus. Not all can see
the work of God today. Let us rejoice in the gift of faith.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Malachi 3.1-4
Second Reading: Hebrews 2.10-11, 13b-18++
Gospel: Luke 2.22-40
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: