Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on February 2, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, 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.

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. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. 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, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“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.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; 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 ‘and you yourself a sword will pierce’ so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” 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, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. 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.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Reflection on the gospel reading: Today we complete this year’s celebration of the Christ child with a festival of light. Today we bless candles and carry them in procession to welcome Christ, the Light that enlightens the Gentiles and the glory of his people. Forty days after the birth of Jesus, today’s celebration brings the Christmas season to a close. Today’s feast brings to an end a whole period which resonates with a sense of light. Christmas itself, taking place just after the winter solstice, is the celebration of the end of the darkness of winter and the coming of light into the world, especially the Light of the World. Twelve days later there is the feast of the Epiphany when the light of a star guides the Gentile outsiders to pay homage to the Light of the World. Then today, we bring the celebration to a close with this feast of light. For many centuries, it has been a day for processions as we remember the Lord’s entry into the Temple, the house of his Father, for the first time. These processions are identified with the blessing of candles carried in procession in honor of Christ, who as today gospel reminds us, is “the light to enlighten the Gentiles.”

The gospel for the day, Luke’s account of Jesus’ presentation in the temple, talks about the family’s fulfillment of its duty within the community of believers. In other words, the portrayal of family life in today’s readings extols an idea where each member of the family understands her or his role in the family and works for the betterment of each other member of the family at the same time the whole family unit fulfills its responsibility to the larger community. The gospel then calls on each of us to radiate light to one another through all the associations we have in life.

Spiritual reading:

Light of lights! All gloom dispelling,
Thou didst come to make thy dwelling
Here within our world of sight.
Lord, in pity and in power,
Thou didst in our darkest hour
Rend the clouds and show thy light.
Praise to thee in earth and heaven
Now and evermore be given,
Christ, who art our sun and shield.
Lord, for us thy life thou gavest,
Those who trust in thee thou savest,
All thy mercy stands revealed.–St. Thomas Aquinas


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