WSC Reflection for February 2, 2020
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – (Cycle A, Year II)
Community Word: The love of Jesus sanctifies us for God’s glory.
Theme:We are sanctified when we overcome our trials with prayers and fasting.
Promise: “… He is able to help those who are tested.” (Hb 2:18b)
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a joyful event in the life of Jesus. On this day, the forty-day old Jesus is brought to His Father’s house for the first time by Mary and His foster father, Joseph. According to the Mosaic Law, every male firstborn is “holy to the Lord,” so Jesus was brought to the temple and “redeemed” by an offering. In our Lord’s case, the act assumed a deeper significance as His presentation in Mary’s hands is the offering of His life. In the Holy Mass, the“presentation in the temple” is Christ’s redemptive life, the divine Lamb lying on the paten of sacrifice and offered to the Father. Thirty three years later, Jesus completes the act by dying on the cross.
The feast also honors the purification of Mary following the ritual for “uncleanliness after childbirth.” Of course, Mary did not need this purification because she was a virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus, but she went through this ritual to fulfill the law. The purification was normally performed in the local synagogue, but Mary and Joseph decided it be done in the temple. Here Joseph offered two young pigeons indicating their poverty and inability to give a bigger offering.
For many long years, a very holy figure, the aged Simeon, had desired the coming of the Messiah. After seeing the Redeemer, he is overcome with gratitude and pours out from his soul the night prayer of his life: “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.” (Lk 2:29-32).After many years of praying and fasting, Simeon saw the glory of the Lord in the face of the baby Jesus, completing his life and preparing him for death.
Like many of us ordinary human beings, Simeon would have had many experiences in life, ambitions and goals, many things to work for. So, for him to say that he is now ready to “go in peace” simply means that the purpose of his life is fulfilled and all that he has strived for has come to culmination in this moment. We see in this experience of Simeon that life must be about encountering Christ and fulfilling our purpose in accord with God’s plan. Each of us has our own purpose in life and it is our responsibility to know it through prayer and in consultation with God.
As we know our purpose, we need to persevere doing it for our Lord Jesus, as our means of sanctification. Indeed, we will encounter challenges and trials along the way that might discourage us. But instead, we must overcome theme through prayers and sacrifices, allowing Jesus to minister to us knowing that He will always be there to help us. This is the promise found in the Second Reading. Just as our Lord Jesus, the merciful and faithful High Priest in service to His Father has been tested by His own suffering, “…He is able to help those who are tested,” (Hb 2:18b).
We must thank God fervently for all the graces He has bestowed on us for we cannot fulfill our purpose in life without His faithfulness and help. At the end of our life, we hope it worthy to utter with our dying lips Simeon’s prayer, ‘Lord, you may now dismiss me, your servant.’
Loving Father, You have granted us all the graces to sanctify our lives. But sometimes, because of our weaknesses and lack of trust in You, we easily become restless when trials and difficulties fall upon us. Lord, we ask You to increase our faith each day, firmly believing in our hearts that Your Son Jesus will be always on our side as we strive to live a holy life. Amen.
Reflection Guide Questions:
1. Do you seek the will of God in every aspect of your life? Do youconsult Him in prayer before making decisions?
2. When you encounter trials and difficulties in life, what is your recourse in order not to easily succumb to fear and restlessness?