Homily February 2, 2014 Presentation of the Lord

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, inspirational, politics, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on January 28, 2014

Today’s feast, the Presentation of the Lord like the Epiphany is one of the oldest feasts celebrated in the church and even pre-dates the celebration of Christmas which came about at the end of the fourth century. It was then that the Presentation was moved from forty days after epiphany, to Feb 2nd, forty days after the feast of Christmas, December 25th. simeon anna In the western church, the feast was named The Purification of the Blessed Mother and from the tradition of holding candles and processions on this day it was also sometimes called Candlemas day. The liturgical renewal of Vatican II restored the name to Presentation of the Lord. Under Jewish law, the first-born male belonged to God and the parents would bring the child to the temple and present him in the temple and then buy him back with the ritual offering which would be a lamb and a turtle-dove for the rich or a pair of turtle doves or two pigeons for poor couples. Mary and Joseph came with turtle doves. It would also be at this time that the ritual purification of the mother would take place as a woman was seen to be unclean after going through childbirth.

As happened often in Jesus’ life, the time of his presentation was not completely uneventful. An old man named Simeon was present who had been promised by God that he would see the Savior who was to come before he died and he took Jesus in his arms and thanked and praised God for having seen Jesus the Savior and the light of revelation to the gentiles. In peace he was now ready to die. From his lips comes the beautiful prayer known as the Nunc Dimitis which basically said that he was ready to see the Lord. He also prophesied that Jesus would suffer and that a sword of sorrow would pierce his mother’s heart. At the same time there was a prophetess named Anna in the temple who was very old and she too recognized the child and thanked God for redemption. After all this, Joseph and Mary fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law and went home to Nazareth and settled down to a daily ordinary life in their humble home.nazereth

As we leave them there today, let’s remember that when we look back and see the events described in the scriptures, I think we see them as stories stylized for when we were children. I think we lose sight of the fact that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were very ordinary people scratching out a living and working day-to-day much like most of us do today. They were kind loving hospitable people looking out for all around them. They didn’t stand out and they simply followed the law and intentions of the law and prophets. They stand out today because of Jesu and how he took on humanity and made it possible for all people to be reconciled to God and to be with him forever.

On this feast of the presentation, it is a good time to look at ourselves and present ourselves to God. It is in him that life can be most fulfilling and he always is waiting for us to reach out to him. As Christians we don’t have a rite of presentation, but we have sacraments or calls to faith and holiness that can transform the ordinary day-to-day life we lead to a true walk with God. Like that family in Nazareth, we aren’t called to be extraordinary, but to be just ordinary people and to do it well. All through history, God took lowly, ordinary people and ordinary events and made extraordinary things happen. As God made something from nothing, so we in faith can do a whole lot if only we have the faith and the will to do it. So, as we offer our Mass today, let us give ourselves and our faith and what we are to witness to Christ.


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  1. Ugwu, Denis said, on February 1, 2014 at 6:50 am

    THANKS FOR YOUR REFLECTIONS, I ENJOY THEM. Indeed, the Holy Family didn’t consider themselves as important or extraordinary people to be reckoned with. They lived their lives ordinarily, like every ordinary person within their time, facing the pros and cons of their lives. Today, their ordinary lives lived in the worship of God, by seeking the face of God in the ordinary events of their daily lives brought them the extraordinary ‘fame and importance’ we celebrate today.
    If today I decide to live my daily life ordinarily in the worship of God, by seeking the face of God in the ordinary events of my daily life, I will be light to many around me. Therefore, I pray to God for the grace not to seek for extraordinary things, but rather to do the ordinary things guided by his love, to merit extraordinary favour; then I would have lived a fulfilled life, so help me God.

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