THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD
Malachi 3: 1-4; Psalms 24:7,8,9,10; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2: 22-40
It is certainly appropriate for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord to also mark the World Day for Consecrated Life. This is borne out in the words of the Entrance Antiphon, “Your merciful love, O God, we have received in the midst of your temple,” and in the Collect, “Almighty ever-living God…just as your Only Begotten Son was presented on this day in the Temple…so by your grace, we may be presented to you with minds made pure.”
We have in Luke’s Gospel Simeon and Anna, prophet, and prophetess, both ‘consecrated’ to God. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple to present him for consecration to God and to complete the Purification ritual fulfilling the law, they are surprised at the words of Simeon and Anna. It had been revealed by the Holy Spirit, to the righteous and devout Simeon, that he would not die before seeing the Christ. Thus, when he entered the Temple and saw the child Jesus, he took him into his arms saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go…for my eyes have seen…a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel.” Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and said to Mary, “Behold This child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that is contradicted - and you yourself a sword will pierce - so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Anna, who has lived at the Temple for many years since being widowed, praying, and fasting night and day, came forward. “And coming forward…she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Professing vows in the Consecrated Life is consecrating one’s life to God. Laypersons may also consecrate themselves to God in ways suitable for their life choices. Today, we are all charged with being the presence of Jesus to others, recognizing Jesus in others, and bringing Jesus’ gifts to others.
Sister Beryl Herdt, OP