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Presentation of the Lord 2nd February Présentation du Seigneur le 2 février

“Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ’Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel.”

Ml.3,1-4 Ps.23 Lk.2,22-40

Presentation of the Lord 2nd February “Look, this child is destined for the fall and the rise of many in Israel.” Ml.3,1-4 Ps.23 Lk.2,22-40  “When the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to be present him to the Lord.” The crowd is an anonymous one in the Temple where an old man and a newly-formed couple can be found with their child.  Mary holds Jesus tight against her, he is the Offering of the world, the very Son of God.  Joseph brings up the offering of poor people : two young doves. As for Simeon, he is a man of the spirit of God, fully ’adjusted’ to God’s will, and completely open to Mercy.He is a man of faith, love and hope whom the Spirit sends before the Messiah. He receives the Child : this is the new covenant in the arms of the former one ; it is the moment of fidelity that God had prepared before Abraham. Mary and Joseph follow the requirements the first testament stipulates. Yet they are moved by the Holy Spirit and enter into a whole new perspective. So this is the first encounter Jesus has with his people. In the Liturgy this encounter arises in such a surprising way.Mary bears the child, just as we carry ’lit candles’, signs of our Baptism. Jesus is the Light of the world. Mary, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, holds him tight against her heart. He is this ’little one’ whom she loves more than anything. He i coming to the encounter of his People awaiting him, a people waiting for the consolation of Israel. Through the intermediary of Simeon, the Holy Spirit is given to his people : ’The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not see death before having seen the messiah of the Lord.’ He is transformed by him, enlightened, to Mary’s great astonishment. Herself and Joseph are both full of wonder. “Simeon took the child in his arms, and blessing God said ’ Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised.” With the child in his arms,SImeon begins blessing God, the Spirit enlightens his prayer and reveals the destiny of this Child and that of his Mother. For himself the elderly man speaks of departure and of peace. For the Child, Simeon announces a universal destiny : he will be the Salvation of all peoples. All of mankind will be enlightened by the Light coming out o this child, and the eruption of this light will trace a frontier between assent and refusal : faced with the Son of God, Mary’s child, faced with Jesus true God and true man, a discernment will come to each person.The bottom of their heart will be revealed, the secret slope of freedom. Contact with this Child transforms the elderly man : ’My eyes have seen your salvation’ Salvation brought about by the Mystery of the Living God who took on human flesh. Mystery of God who from now on will give Himself within the very nature of this human nature in which divinity lies. This elderly man moved by the Holy Spirit has discovered the Secret. When we go into Church with our lit candle in our hands we do this in remembrance of our Baptism. On that day we became ’light of the world’. This Light we shine forth is Jesus Himself. This light is pleasing for our eyes, we like to contemplate it, rejoicing, it warms our hearts and lights up our faces. “Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother’ Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed- and a sword will pierce your soul too- so that the secret thought of many will be laid bear.”  Mary is greatly surprised and this can be seen in her gaze: a sword is going to pass through her heart ; the ordeal will reveal what is at the bottom of hearts. As for us, sisters and brothers who have a divided heart, feeling so fragile as we go from gift to refusal, between surrendering and worrying, we have found light for our steps and the peace that God asks us to bring to the world. Let us keep and carry the Child Jesus, it is He who leads us on. What happens to the Mother is linked to the Child, what happens to the Bride is linked to the Bridegroom. As Mary comes to live the sorrowful mysteries she will cherish Jesus even more . She loves the One who is going to take her with Him, to the Salvation of the world. She is the Mother of Compassion who is going to follow Him everywhere. “When they had accomplished everything that was conform to the law of the Lord, they came back to Galilee, to their town of Nazareth. The Child grew up, became stronger and was filled with wisdom. And the grace of God was with Him.” Mary and Jesus presented to the Temple open up path of liberation for the world. Jesus has saved us. We know that we are called to follow him, Simeon received the Child in his arms, he blessed God by saying ’Now, o Sovereign master, you can let your servant leave in peace, according to your Word.’ Humanly speaking it is impossible, but nothing is impossible for God. The Holy Spirit is given to us. We ask for the grace to follow Jesus and to love Him. “Luke ch. 2, 22-40 When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.  He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted —and you yourself a sword will pierce— so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of 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.“Presentation of the Lord 2nd February”And when the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.”

In the anonymous crowd in the Temple, we see an elderly man and a very young household. Mary holds tightly in her arms the offering of the world, the very Son of God, and he, Joseph, brings the offering of the poor : two young doves. As for Simeon, he is man of the Spirit, fully ’adjusted ’to what God wants, completely welcoming and merciful - a man of faith, love and hope whom the Holy Spirit sends before the Messiah.

He receives the Child : it is the new covenant in the arms of the former one ; it is the moment of fidelity that God prepared ever since Abraham. Mary and Joseph follow the requirements of the First Testament. However they are moved by the Holy Spirit, in a whole new perspective. This is how Jesus’ first encounter with his People who was waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Spirit, through the intermediary of Simon, is given to his People : ’The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not see death before having seen the Messiah, the Lord.’ He is transformed by the Holy Spirit, and suddenly lights up to the great surprise of Mary and Joseph. All are in a state of marvel.

“Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God, saying ’ Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in Peace as you promised.”

With the Child in the hollow of his arm, Simeon begins to bless God. The Spirit, enlightening his prayer, unveils the destiny of the Child and that of his Mother. About himself, the elderly man speaks of departure and peace. About the Child, Simeon announces a universal destiny : he is going to be the salvation of all peoples. All of mankind will be enlightened by the Light coming forth from this Child, and the eruption of this Light will trace a frontier between assent and refusal : faced with the Son of God, the Son of Mary, faced with Jesus true God and true man, a discernment will come upon every man and this will reveal the bottom of his heart, the secret direction of his freedom.

Contact with this Child is going to transform the elderly man ’My eyes have seen your Salvation.’ Salvation brought about by the Mystery of the Living God

who took on human flesh. Mystery of God who from now on is going to give Himself from the very inside of this human nature in which the Divinity dwells. This elderly man, moved by the Holy Spirit, has discovered the Secret. When we go into the Church with our small lightened candle, we remember our Baptism. On that day we became ’light of the world’. Jesus is this Light we shine forth. We like this Light, we look at it , rejoicing, warming ourselves in its Light, it lightens up our faces.

“Look, said Simeon to Mary, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed, and a sword will pierce your soul too- so that the secret thoughts of many will be laid bear.”

Mary looks greatly surprised, a sword is going to pass through your life ; trials will reveal what is at the bottom of hearts.

As for us, – sisters and brothers, men and women with hearts divided, who feel the frontier between gift and refusal, surrender and worry move around in us - where are we going to find light for our path, be it personal or community? Where are we going to find the Peace God asks us to bring to the world? Let us keep and carry the Child, for it is He who is going to lead us. The destiny of the mother is linked to the Child ; the destiny of the bride is linked to that of the Bridegroom.

Entering into the sorrowful mysteries, Mary is going to cherish Jesus even more. She loves the One who is going to take her with Him, for the Salvation of the world. She is the Mother of Compassion who will follow him everywhere, like the bride following the Lamb everywhere he goes.

“When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their home town of Nazareth. And as the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom ; and God’s favour was with him.”

Mary, and Jesus who is presented to the Temple, open up a path of liberation to the world. Jesus has saved us. We know that we are called to follow Him, humanly speaking it is impossible, but nothing is impossible for God : the Holy Spirit is given to us.

We ask for the grace to follow Jesus and to love Him.