February 2, 2016


February 2, 2016:  Presentation of the Lord

Can you find 13 connections with today?
Legend below

  • Thus saith the Lord/But who may abide the day of his coming?, from Messiah/ Handel:  traditional, "soulful" (1st reading)

Pope Francis
Homily for last day of the Year of Consecrated Life:  Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the Jerusalem Temple.  He's a child like others but also unique, the Lord’s only son who came for us all.  He brought God's mercy and tenderness.  The Year of Consecrated Life, like a river, now flows into the sea of mercy we experience in this Jubilee.
Today's feast is also called the Feast of the Encounter.  There are several encounters in the Gospel.  In the temple Jesus comes towards us and we meet him.  We contemplate the encounter with Simeon who represents Israel awaiting the Lord's coming and exults at the promise's fulfillment; we admire the encounter with Anna, who exults with joy.  Simeon and Anna await and prophesy; Jesus is the good news and fulfillment, God’s perpetual surprise, where the past (memory and promise) and the future (hope) meet.  In this we see the beginning of consecrated life.  The consecrated are called to be people of encounter.  Vocation is motivated by the grace of God who comes through encounter.  Jesus makes all things new.  Those who meet him can't stay the same:  they become witnesses and make meeting possible for others; they also promote the culture of encounter.
The 2nd reading reminds us Jesus shared our human condition.  He didn't stay out of our drama but participated in our life.  Consecrated persons are called to be a concrete and prophetic sign of God’s closeness, sharing in our fragile, sinful, wounded condition; they're called to be in a state of mission, sharing our joys, hopes, griefs, and anxieties.
The Gospel tells us "Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was said about him."  They safeguard the wonder for this encounter full of light and hope for all.  We too, as Christians and consecrated persons, are custodians of wonder, wonder that asks to be constantly renewed.  Our founders' charisms aren't museum pieces.  Our founders weren't afraid to get their hands dirty with life, people’s problems, and walking the peripheries.  Obstacles and misunderstandings didn't deter them because they kept their encounter with Christ in their hearts.  They didn't tame the Gospel; they yearned for the Lord and to bring him to others, just as Mary and Joseph did in the temple.  We're called to make prophetic and courageous choices. 
Live the gratitude for the encounter with Jesus and for the gift of your vocation.  May the Lord grow within us, and increase in us the desire of encounter, the custody of wonder, and the joy of gratitude.  Then others will be attracted by his light and will meet the Father's mercy.
At Jubilee of Consecrated Life:  Prophecy, closeness, and hope are pillars of consecrated life.
    • Prophecy is telling people that there's a road of happiness, a road that fills you with joy, Jesus' way, being close to Jesus.  Prophecy is a gift you need to ask the Spirit for, to know what to say and do at the right time.
    • Closeness:  You're consecrated, not to distance yourself from people but to become closer to and understand Christians and non-Christians, their suffering, and their problems.  Consecrated life must lead us to closeness to people:  physical and spiritual closeness, knowing them.   Don't alienating people in your community by the terrorism of gossip.  The most difficult virtue is controlling your tongue.  If something needs to be corrected, talk directly to the person, or if it's not prudent, only to one who can remedy the situation....
    • Hope:  It troubles me when I see the decline in vocations, aging and shrinking communities.  I'm tempted against hope to ask God what's happening.  Some communities welcome freely, but problems develop.  No; we must welcome in a serious, discerning way.  We must pray more.  There's a danger that as a Congregation shrinks it becomes attached to money, the devil's dung; they think money will save them and help them in their old age.  But hope comes only from the Lord, not money!
    Turtle doves (gospel)
  • Mal 3:1-4  My messenger will prepare the way.  The Lord will come to the temple, but who will endure that day?  He, like the refiner’s fire, will purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer sacrifice pleasing to God.
  • Ps 24:7-10  "Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!"  Open up that the king of glory, strong and mighty, may enter!
    Two young pigeons (gospel)
  • Heb 2:14-18  Jesus shared in our flesh to free those subject to slavery.  He had to become like us to expiate sin.  Because he was tested through suffering, he can help those being tested.
  • Lk 2:22-40  Mary and Joseph presented Jesus to God.  Simeon prayed to their amazement:  “Master, you may let me go in peace; I've seen your salvation, a light to Gentiles and glory for Israel.” To Mary: “This child will be a sign to be contradicted, and a sword will pierce you.”  Prophetess Anna thanked God and spoke about the child.  Jesus grew and became strong and wise, and God's favor was on him.  They returned to Nazareth.
    Presentation of Christ
    in the Temple (Holbein)
  • Creighton:  In today’s readings we get a glimpse of the human side of the Holy Family.  The 2nd reading reminds us Jesus was tested and suffered and so can help those being tested.  The gospel tells us of Joseph and Mary following the law, going to Jerusalem to present their son to God.  When they arrived they were amazed to hear holy Simeon say Jesus was "a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”   They likely had the same joy, pride, worry, and fear for Jesus as other parents for their children.  Holy Family, watch over us during our times of pride, joy, worry, and fear....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Presentations":  "Presentation" now refers to giving a talk or concert or conferring an award, but in the Bible, a presentation is a liturgical ceremony of presenting a first-born male child to the Lord by sacrificing something in his place, expressing total commitment to and love of the Lord.  Today is a time for our [renewal of] commitment to the Lord.
  • Passionist:  The 1st reading anticipates Jesus' coming to the Temple, as one sent by the Father.  Though Jesus is only a few weeks old, Simeon and Anna acknowledged him as the longed-for Redeemer and thanked God for letting them hold him.  The 2nd reading reminds us that Jesus' human nature subjects him to all human experience and makes his Passion meaningful because he willingly underwent it for us.   Because he was tested, he can help those being tested.  As you read of Simeon and Anna, think of the years that older parishioners have faithfully come to church, sat in silence, and prayed....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "The favor of God was upon him":  Children are gifts from God.  Jesus was born in an ordinary home with no luxuries, and his parents raised him in the fear and wisdom of God.  He obeyed them and grew in wisdom and grace.  The Lord's favor is with those who listen to him with trust and obedience. / Simeon, in tune with the Spirit, believed the Lord would renew his people and also bring salvation to the Gentiles.  He recognized baby Jesus as the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies, hopes, and prayers and prophesied that Jesus would be "a revealing light to the Gentiles."  The Spirit reveals the Lord's presence to those open and eager to receive him. / Jesus is the new temple:  God manifested his presence in a pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.  His glory dwelt over the ark and the tabernacle.  It rested on the first Jerusalem temple, and when the temple was destroyed, Ezekiel saw God's glory leave it.  But God promised to fill it with greater glory; later, the King of Glory came to his temple.  Through Jesus we're made living temples of the Spirit. / Simeon prophesied to Mary about Jesus' destiny and her suffering.  Her blessedness would become a sword that pierced her heart as her Son died.  But the sorrow didn't diminish her joy because of her faith, hope, and trust in God.  The Lord gives us joy that enables us to bear any sorrow or pain. / Spirit-filled Anna was a woman of great hope, a model of godliness to all who advance in age.  Her hope and faith fueled her prayer and service.  The Spirit gives hope to all who trust God; it enables us to persevere through any challenges.  May I give God everything I have....
Dress legend
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  who shall endure the day of his coming? (1st reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  Since the children share in blood and flesh, so did Jesus (2nd reading)
  • 'Christmas lights' tie:  Christ is a light to the nations (gospel); Christmas season used to extend through today
  • White shirt and (not shown) socks:  color of today's feast of the Lord
  • Gold- and silver-colored accessories:  The Lord will refine Levi like gold or silver (1st reading)
  • 'Angel' pin:  Jesus helped Abraham's descendents, not angels (2nd reading)
  • 'Kentucky/Unbridled spirit sign' pin:  The Spirit was upon Simeon (gospel); Jesus will be 'sign' to be contradicted (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "My eyes have seen your salvation" (gospel)
  • 'Sword' tie pin (unfortunately gone):  Simeon:  "Mary, a sword will pierce you..." (gospel)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "Now you may let your servant go in peace" (gospel)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  "...so the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (gospel)
  • 'Owl' pin:  Jesus grew in wisdom (gospel)

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