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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – “The Favor of God was upon Him”


Presentation of the Lord“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…
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. 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.’
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:22, 25, 27-35, 40).
 
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord commemorates the first appearance of the Holy Family in the Temple in Jerusalem when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to dedicate him to the Lord, a stipulation of the Law of Moses.
 
The arrival of Jesus did not go unnoticed, as Luke recalls in his Gospel. The prophetess Anna and the elderly Simeon heralded the child who would redeem not only Israel, whose expectation these prayerful people embodied, but the whole world.
 
But there also was an ominous note. Simeon told Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
 
When the archangel told Mary she would bear a son conceived by the Holy Spirit, she and Joseph accepted the angel’s word because they believed it to be God’s will. And then, hearing from a holy man in the Temple that their son’s work would inspire resistance and that Mary herself would feel the effects of the opposition to him, the couple still accepted God’s will and continued with love to carry out their responsibilities as parents of this holy child.
 
– What helps you to accept challenges and deal with troubles and yet remain confident in the Lord’s promises?
 
Adapted from PrayerTime: Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, available at the RENEW International store

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