Sunday, 2nd February, The Presentation of the Lord


When the time came for their purification according to the law of
Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is
written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as
holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in
the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.” Now there
was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and
devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit
rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not
see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon
came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do
for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and
praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, /  according to your word; /  for my eyes have seen your salvation, /  which you have prepared in the presence of all
peoples, /  a light for revelation to the
Gentiles / and for glory to your people Israel.” And the child’s father and
mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them
and said to his mother 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.” There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of
Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years
after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left
the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that
moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all
who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished
everything required by 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 favour of God was upon him.




In today’s Gospel and the feast of the Presentation, we usually
focus on the Holy Spirit that helps the old man Simeon recognize and praise God
and bless the parents of Jesus. The usual lesson we learn from them is about
the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in ourselves. However, we may benefit more from
the Gospel and the feast, if we look at the relationship between God and us
through Jesus’ friendship with us and what the relationship of friendship


It is very often
that we meet people who are friendly. It seems that many people are gifted for
making friends easily by remembering people’s names and what they did. However,
such skills are particularly vital for people who are in the hospitality
businesses. We meet many of them on our daily activities, whether we buy
something or try to solve our problem. Such encounters cannot be termed as

For entering a
relationship of friendship, there is a mutuality of communication, of loyalty,
of affection, of growth, and sometimes of argument and reconciliation. Being a
friend with others is not an easy and smooth sailing. It is about faith and you
invest yourself. That is why true friendship is rare and costly. 

God wants to be friend with us. How He did it? In the Infancy
Narratives in Matthew and Luke, we are told how God made Himself available on
earth to be our friend through Jesus. In these narratives, there is a profound
encounter with just how much God wants to be our friend and our companion.


He places all His or Her Divinity into the hands of Mary and
Joseph and asks them in effect, ‘teach me how to be human’.” And so, there is
an entrance way into the Infancy Narratives in which you suddenly realize God
has placed the growing and formation of His Son in
the very human hands of Mary and Joseph.


They had tradition, such as the one that
we read in today’s Gospel. In this occasion, Joseph was in effect showing to
Jesus: here is the law to be a good Jew. And in Mary,
the presentation representing surrendering and ruminating on what Simeon said meant in her own
heart. Thus, the Infancy Narratives are not strict history, but they are a faith reflection on the
meaning of these two people in the formation of the gift of God to them, who is
the Son of God,


The Infancy
Narratives, including the Presentation of today’s Gospel and the finding of
Jesus in the Temple, are so important. In Latin Infans means “not speaking, not able to speak.” And that was God, not
able to speak. He learned from Joseph and Mary. They were His companion. We
should model after their friendship given to Him.  

In watching the
humanity of Jesus, and dwelling peacefully with the ramifications of His
humanness, in hearing Him and seeing Him and touching Him, through prayers, we
come to know Him as my brother and my friend.

Francois Mauriac wrote in his life of Jesus: “It is baffling to
record that, for a period of thirty years, the Son of Man did not appear to be
anything other than a man.” Those who lived with him thought they knew him. He
fixed their tables and chairs. When he stepped outside the role they had fixed
for him, they put him down as just a workman. Lord, there are depths in each of
us, even those we think we know well, that only you can glimpse. Help me see
others with your gaze. Amen.