February 2, 2019

Jesus' Presentation

February 2, 2019:  Presentation of the Lord

See 17 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)

For Psalm 24
Pope Francis
World Day for Consecrated Life homily:  Religious men and women are called to a twofold obedience:  to the law and the Spirit.  The Spirit reveals the Lord, but to welcome him we need to persevere.  Today's Mass, for the "feast day of encounter," shows Jesus going out to meet his people.  The new Child encounters the tradition of the Temple; the promise finds fulfillment; young Mary and Joseph encounter elderly Simeon and Anna.  Consecrated people are called to encounter Jesus every day, a daily choice.  We find in Jesus courage to carry on; encounter with the Lord is the source.  By returning to the source and renewing our first love, we make religious life a time of encounter, not a time that passes by.  The original meeting with the Lord blossomed in the context of a believing people, not something private between us and God.  God calls us to encounter him through faithfulness to concrete things:  prayer, Mass, Reconciliation, charity, the word of God.  Our encounter with Jesus culminates in vision. Simeon sees the Child and sees salvation; he sees God’s simplicity and welcomes his presence.  God is enough, the rest passes; praise gushes forth in spite of everything.  Religious life isn't about survival but about new life, a living encounter with the Lord; it's praise that gives joy to God’s people, prophetic vision that reveals what counts.
To Italy Pro-LifersI appeal to all politicians to treat the defense of the lives of those about to be born and enter into society as the cornerstone of the common good.  Newborns bring society newness, future, and life.  Voluntarily extinguishing life in its blossoming betrays our vocation and the pact that binds generations together and allows us to look forward with hope.  Thank you for defending the lives of the unborn, bearing witness that those who have been conceived are society's children.  Their killing is a serious problem undermining the foundations of building justice; it compromises properly solving any other human and social issue.
Protecting life means protecting every aspect of a person’s life; it requires paying attention to living conditions:  health, education, and job opportunities, everything that allows a person to live in dignity.  Every person should be involved in defending life at every level of society.  Life is a gift from God we can't take credit for.  When it's violated at its emergence, what remains is no longer the grateful and enchanted welcome of a gift, but a cold calculation of what we have and can use; life is reduced to a disposable consumer good.  You draw on the Catholic faith and Church teachings to contrast these tendencies.  Where there's life, there's hope!
    Turtle doves
  • 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!
    Young pigeons
  • 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.
  • Creighton:  Today’s gospel reading shows the Holy Family as devout, knowledgeable of and faithful to the Law.  The Torah guided their lives, and the family atmosphere Jesus grew up in was one of faith.  A purpose of their trip was to offer sacrifice in accordance with the law; because they were poor, they offered turtle doves or pigeons instead of a lamb.  Jesus resonated with people’s material struggles; the poor recognized he was on their side.  Jesus challenges us to be focused on what we are, not what we have, to recognize and own our uniqueness before God without letting the peripheral derail our attention to what's central.  Jesus' parents were amazed at (didn't understand) what was said about him.  Many times Mary didn't understand, but she kept pondering in her heart, even to the Cross. She moved from not understanding to not needing to understand.  May we too ponder in our hearts, so we may be led the same way.
    Presentation of Christ
    in the Temple (Holbein)
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Consuming fire":  Jesus is the Light of the world, "like the refiner's fire," "a consuming Fire."  We're like candles, giving light through being consumed by God's love.  If you let the Lord light your life, your light will shine, and you'll lead others into God's kingdom of light. Your call will burn your time, energy, and money; it'll burn your life down to nothing.  Don't blow out your light; if you try to save your life from being consumed, you'll lose your life.  Let Jesus light your candle and consume you in his love.
  • Passionist:  Anna and Simeon, devoted witnesses to the Lord, model faith grown old but not weakened.  As we mature, our call is to be a witness to faith and its power in our lives, and our capacity to be a witness is strengthened.  We witness by presence as well as action.  “I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me.”  We too are to prepare others to encounter the Lord, e.g. at family gatherings, by encouraging the young, by adherence to good values, by trusting God in the face of loss and suffering.  May we proclaim, “my eyes have seen your salvation...” and always thank God and speak about Jesus to all awaiting redemption.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "The favor of God was upon him":  Jesus was born in an ordinary home with no luxuries, and his parents reared 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 save the Israel and the nations.  Recognizing Jesus as fulfilling messianic prophecies, hopes, and prayers, he prophesied Jesus would be "a revealing light to the Gentiles."  The Spirit reveals the Lord's presence to those open to receive him. / Jesus is the new temple:  God manifested his presence in cloud and fire.  His glory dwelt over ark and 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 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 sorrow and 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 challenges.  May I give God everything I have....
Dress legend
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Who shall endure the day of his coming? (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin:  The Lord is like the refiner's fire (1st reading)
  • Gold- and silver-colored accessories:  The Lord will refine Levi like gold or silver (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord is the king of glory (psalm)
  • 'Angel' pin:  Jesus helped Abraham's descendants, not angels (2nd reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  Jesus shared in blood and flesh like the children (2nd reading)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  Jesus had to become like us that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest (2nd reading)
  • 'Christmas lights' tie:  Christ is a light to the nations (gospel); Christmas season used to extend through today
  • 'Dove' pin:  The Spirit was upon Simeon and revealed he'd see the Messiah (gospel)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "Now you may let your servant go in peace"; Jesus will be 'sign' to be contradicted (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "My eyes have seen your salvation" (gospel)
  • 'Mary' pin:  "Mary,..." (gospel)
  • 'Sword' tie bar:  "...a sword will pierce you..." (gospel)
  • 'Heart' clip:  "...so the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (gospel)
  • 'Owl' pin:  Jesus grew in wisdom (gospel)
  • White shirt:  Today's liturgical color

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