READINGS for 2009-02-02
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
“… so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” – Luke 2:35
Have you ever participated in a product survey? I have. It was a challenge having to choose and to decide on one product as superior over the other based on the guidelines given. But that’s how surveys go. One cannot choose both; it has to be one over the other. And the results would speak about what the majority prefers.
Jesus was presented as our Lord and Savior — the Word Incarnate, the only Way to the Father — but the choice is ours to make if we want to be saved.
We were given guidelines to follow — the commandments — in order to live a life in union with God. It is not an easy life. In fact, many have chosen a different path. Today, we are called to choose whether to follow Christ or to turn farther away from Him. There is no neutral ground. It’s either we are for Him or against Him. In the end, it’s not what the majority prefers but how we are to respond to the call of God and receive Christ in our hearts. Jane Gonzales
Are we ready to make a stand for Jesus and defend it even if it’s not what the majority believes?
Dear Jesus, fill me with Your spirit and wisdom that I may make godly choices. Keep me close to You always. Amen.
One of the most important works of growing in holiness is that we are purified of our sin and given the grace to combat it. This is the refiner’s fire that Malachi speaks of in today’s reading. It is up to us if we submit ourselves to it. It will not be pleasant or easy. It will involve making difficult decisions and embracing the struggles that always accompany putting sin to death in our lives.
1 Thus says the Lord God: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. 3 He will sit refining and purifying [silver], and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD. 4 Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD, as in days of old, as in years gone by.
P S A L M
Psalm 24:7. 8. 9. 10
R: Who is the king of glory? It is the Lord!
7 Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may come in! (R) 8 Who is this king of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle. (R) 9 Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may come in! (R) 10 Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory. (R)
One of the Cappadocian Fathers, I think it was St. Basil of Caesarea, tells us that the dignity of the human person is rooted in the call placed on us to become as God. That is, we are all called to union with Jesus, and in this union, we will become like God because we are united with Him. If this does not get us excited, nothing will! Let us grasp the offer of divinization from God and surrender our lives to it!
14 Since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. 16 Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; 17 therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
G O S P E L
God’s favor was seen to be with Jesus. I do not think that this means He was unable to fit in with the other children with whom He grew up. However, it does mean, I think, that because of this so-called favor, there would have been a growing realization in the mind and heart of Jesus that He was in some way set apart for a particular work of God. His talking in the Temple with the elders and chief priests (Luke 2:41-51) is an indication of this. Jesus was more than a precocious child; there was something different about Him that eventually came to the fore.
22 When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23 just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” 24 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. 25 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. 26 It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. 27 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, 28 he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: 29 “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; 34 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 35 — and you yourself a sword will pierce — so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” 36 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, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshipped night and day with fasting and prayer. 38 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. 39 When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
think:One of the most important works of growing in holiness is that we are purified of our sin and given the grace to combat it.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Acts 5-8
conSecraTed To The lord
Every year, we celebrate this wonderful feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
It was a Jewish custom whereby after 40 days, the parents would offer their firstborn to God as commanded in the laws of the Lord. It was an offering made to God, a thanksgiving for all gifts given to humanity by the Lord. I often wonder what was in the mind of Mary and Joseph as they heard these words spoken from the mouths of those holy people, Simeon and Anna, whom we hear about in the Gospel today.
The Presentation of the Lord is also a special day for those who live a consecrated life. It celebrates their lives given to God in service as priests and religious. It celebrates the light and life they manifest in the world today. Even though the feast we celebrate today is a Jewish custom, there is also something prophetic about it. Just as Mary and Joseph offered their Child to the Lord, the life of this Child will be an offering to God. On behalf of all humanity, 30-something years later, He will present Himself to God on the gibbet of the Cross, revealing to all the love and glory of God.
Along with this feast, we also celebrate the coming of the Son of God into the Temple. Simeon and Anna were very conscious of this, in their prayers and prophecy. God had chosen to be a God-with-us, Emmanuel, which we celebrated in the season of Christmas. In this feast, we remember and celebrate a God who is always with us, who never abandons His people and a God of faithfulness and without deceit.
As we celebrate this feast, let us remember that we too have been consecrated, set apart for the glory of God. God has called us out of darkness into His own glorious light and we also must present ourselves to God. At each Mass the priest offers the bread and wine to be consecrated as the Body and Blood of Christ. Let us offer our lives and present them to the Lord in union with the gifts of bread and wine offered at Mass .Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
What offering can I make to the Lord? What areas of my life need to be presented to Him for His light and glory to shine?
Lord, I offer my life to You. As Jesus was presented in the Temple, I also present myself to You through the prayers of Joseph and Mary. Use me as You will and let my life be an offering, a pleasing sacrifice for You. Amen
St. Joan of Lestonnac, Widow, pray for us.
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