Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection February 02, 2024


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R/. The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory!

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.

R/. Alleluia

When the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said 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 and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marvelled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband, seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God, and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favour of God was upon him.

1.      02 February marks the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the temple. It was after 40 days of his birth according to the Jewish law. In fact, he did not need to follow the laws and traditions. There was no need to be purified or offered as holy to the Lord because he is purity and holiness itself.

2.       His presentation in the temple is symbolic and significative. It signifies the function and effect of his messianic role. As the incarnate saviour and the messiah, he presents and offers himself to the Father in humble obedience. He becomes like us in every respect except sin. He subjects himself to human law and obligations in total solidarity with us.

3.       Further, his presentation ritual also indicates the effect of his messianic role. By his self-offering, he offers all as “pleasing” to the Lord. His purification ceremony indicates the purification that he brings to all. He propitiates the sins of the people.

4.       And the words in Malachi apply very well to his doing. “He is like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver”.

5.       From the presence of Simeon, a righteous and devout man, in the temple, it becomes still clear that the presented Jesus was destined for the “consolation of Israel”, “salvation that God has prepared in the presence of all peoples”, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles”, and for “glory to the people Israel”.

6.       The presentation of the Lord in the temple is a sacred call for each one of us, to be ever on the holy project of presentation, purification, and salvation. We are called to present ourselves as pleasing offerings to God. We need to constantly purify ourselves from all our burdens of sin. And we need to continue the same mission of salvation.

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