Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Luke 2:22-40

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Josephine Threlfall

Published: February 02, 2016

Read Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the... Read More…


Today, forty days after Christmas we celebrate this wonderful Feast of Jesus being presented to the Lord in the Temple. Mary and Joseph have come to present their male child, Jesus to the Lord and to celebrate the purification of his mother after giving birth, as laid down in the law. (Leviticus 12:1-8). The law also stated that the parents of the child should bring a lamb one year old or two turtle doves to be offered in sacrifice and presented to the priest at the entrance to the Temple. It is obvious that Mary and Joseph are not very wealthy, by the fact that they offered two turtle doves.

On arrival, they are welcomed by the wise and holy old man Simeon, who takes Jesus into his arms in a loving embrace. What would normally be a simple visit to the Temple becomes an extraordinary revelation, as the Holy Spirit inspires Simeon to proclaim the words of the beautiful hymn- the Nunc Dimitis. He says that he is ready to die--- “because my eyes have seen the Salvation, which you have prepared for all the nations to see.” What wonderful faith and trust in God knowing that he is in the presence of the Saviour of humankind. The light of Christ has come into the world; the light that will spread throughout the Gentile world to all nations and will not be extinguished.

So in our time, we often refer to this as the Feast of Candlemas, when we hope and pray that the light of Christ will light up the dark places in the lives of people who are suffering, as a result of war and conflict. Today, large numbers of people have been driven from their homeland and are refugees and asylum seekers, homeless, vulnerable, lonely and living in poverty. Let us pray that the prayer of Simeon may be a source of inspiration and hope to them.

St. Julie our Foundress shared in this experience as she endured long suffering and then experienced the revelation of the light of Christ shining through the lives of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Nmaur who continue to spread the good news in bringing the light of Christ to the vulnerable and those living in poverty, in many different countries across the world.

As Simeon blesses the parents of Jesus, he prophesies the suffering and death of Christ as he turns to Mary and says, “A sword will pierce your own soul too.” What a troubling experience for Mary, but this is a reminder to us that we too must be strong in faith to accept hardship and suffering, if we are to be true followers of Christ and enjoy the eternal life of light and joy.

The Gospel reading today concludes with Anna, the eighty-four year old widow, who spends most of her life in prayer and fasting while praising God and speaking of the Jesus the Saviour. The profound messages of God’s light and love that we have read about here have not come from the scholars and powerful leaders, but from the vulnerable, the elderly, and the uneducated.

  • What does this say to us for our own lives?
  • What do I learn from the wisdom of elderly in society?
  • What can I learn from those who have been forced to leave their homeland?
  • Can I bring a glimmer of light to people in these dark places?

Prayer and Reflection
Spend some time with Simeon reading and reflecting on the Nunc Dimitis which has inspired people of Faith since Luke wrote his Gospel.

Now Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised;
Because my eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all the nations to see;
A light to enlighten the gentiles;
And the glory for your people Israel (Luke 2:29-32).

 

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