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From: Luke 2:22-35

The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

[22] And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses,
they (Joseph and Mary) brought Him (Jesus) up to Jerusalem to present Him to
the Lord [23] (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “every male that opens the
womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) [24] 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.”

Simeon’s Prophecy

[25] Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this
man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy
Spirit was upon him. [26] And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that
he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. [27] And inspired
by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child
Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, [28] he took Him up in
his arms and blessed God and said, [29] “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant de-
part in peace, according to Thy word; [30] for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation
[31] which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, [32] a light for reve-
lation to the Gentiles, and for the glory to Thy people Israel.”

[33] And His father and His mother marvelled at what was said about Him; [34]
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother, “Behold this child is
set for the fall and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken
against [35] (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts
out of many hearts may be revealed.”


22-24. The Holy Family goes up to Jerusalem to fulfill the prescriptions of the
Law of Moses — the purification of the mother and the pesentation and then re-
demption or buying back of the first-born. According to Leviticus 12:2-8, a wo-
man who bore a child was unclean. The period of legal impurity ended, in the
case of a mother of a male child, after forty days, with a rite of purification. Mary
most holy, ever-virgin, was exempt from these precepts of the Law, because she
conceived without intercourse, nor did Christ’s birth undo the virginal integrity of
His Mother. However, she chose to submit herself to the Law, although she was
under no obligation to do so.

“Through this example, foolish child, won’t you learn to fulfill the holy Law of
God, regardless of personal sacrifice?

“Purification! You and I certainly do need purification. Atonement and, more than
atonement, Love. Love as a searing iron to cauterize our soul’s uncleanness, and
as a fire to kindle with divine flames the wretchedness of our hearts” (St. J. Es-
criva, “Holy Rosary”, Fourth Joyful Mystery).

Also, in Exodus 13:2, 12-13 it is indicated that every first-born male belongs to
God and must be set apart for the Lord, that is, dedicated to the service of God.
However, once divine worship was reserved to the tribe of Levi, first-born who did
not belong to that tribe were not dedicated to God’s service, and to show that
they continued to be God’s special property, a rite of redemption was performed.

The Law also laid down that the Israelites should offer in sacrifice some lesser
victim — for example, a lamb or, if they were poor, a pair of doves or two pigeons.
Our Lord, who “though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that
by His poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9), chose to have a poor
man’s offering made on His behalf.

25-32. Simeon, who is described as a righteous and devout man, obedient to
God’s will, addresses himself to our Lord as a vassal or loyal servant who, having
kept watch all his life in expectation of the coming of his Lord, sees that this mo-
ment has “now” come, the moment that explains his whole life. When he takes
the Child in his arms, he learns, not through any reasoning process but through
a special grace from God, that this Child is the promised Messiah, the Conso-
lation of Israel, the Light of the nations.

Simeon’s canticle (verses 29-32) is also a prophecy. It consists of two stanzas:
the first (verses 29-30) is an act of thanksgiving to God, filled with profound joy
for having seen the Messiah. The second (verses 31-32) is more obviously pro-
phetic and extols the divine blessings which the Messiah is bringing to Israel
and to all men. The canticle highlights the fact that Christ brings redemption to
all men without exception — something foretold in many Old Testament prophe-
cies (cf. Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 2:6; 42:6; 60:3; Psalm 28:2).

It is easy to realize how extremely happy Simeon was — given that many patri-
archs, prophets and kings of Israel had yearned to see the Messiah, yet did not
see Him, whereas he now held Him in his arms (cf. Luke 10:24; 1 Peter 1:10).

33. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph marvelled not because they did not know
know who Christ was; they were in awe at the way God was revealing Him. Once
again they teach us to contemplate the mysteries involved in the birth of Christ.

34-35. After Simeon blesses them, the Holy Spirit moves him to further prophecy
about the Child’s future and His Mother’s. His words become clearer in the light
of our Lord’s life and death.

Jesus came to bring salvation to all men, yet He will be a sign of contradiction
because some people will obstinately reject Him — and for this reason He will be
their ruin. But for those who accept Him with faith Jesus will be their salvation,
freeing them from sin in this life and raising them up to eternal life.

The words Simeon addresses to Mary announce that she will be intimately linked
with her Son’s redemptive work. The sword indicates that Mary will have a share
in her Son’s sufferings; hers will be an unspeakable pain which pierces her soul.
Our Lord suffered on the cross for our sins, and it is those sins which forge the
sword of Mary’s pain. Therefore, we have a duty to atone not only to God but al-
so to His Mother, who is our Mother too.

The last words of the prophecy, “that out of many hearts thoughts may be re-
vealed”, link up with verse 34: uprightness or perversity will be demonstrated by
whether one accepts or rejects Christ.

36-38. Anna’s testimony is very similar to Simeon’s; like him, she too has been
awaiting the coming of the Messiah her whole life long, in faithful service of God,
and she too is rewarded with the joy of seeing Him. “She spoke of Him,” that is,
of the Child — praising God in her prayer and exhorting others to believe that this
Child is the Messiah.

Thus, the birth of Christ was revealed by three kinds of witnesses in three diffe-
rent ways — first, by the shepherds, after the angel’s announcement; second, by
the Magi, who were guided by a star; third, by Simeon and Anna, who were in-
spired by the Holy Spirit.

All who, like Simeon and Anna, persevere in piety and in the service of God, no
matter how insignificant their lives seem in men’s eyes, become instruments the
Holy Spirit uses to make Christ known to other. In His plan of redemption God
avails of these simple souls to do much good to all mankind.

39. Before their return to Nazareth, St. Matthew tells us (2:13-23), the Holy Fa-
mily fled to Egypt where they stayed for some time.

40. “Our Lord Jesus Christ as a child, that is, as one clothed in the fragility of
human nature, had to grow and become stronger but as the eternal Word of God
He had no need to become stronger or to grow. Hence He is rightly described as
full of wisdom and grace” (St. Bede, “In Lucae Evangelium Expositio, in loc.”).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 12/28/2012 10:17:43 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

First reading 1 John 2:3-11 ©
We can be sure that we know God
only by keeping his commandments.
Anyone who says, ‘I know him’,
and does not keep his commandments,
is a liar,
refusing to admit the truth.
But when anyone does obey what he has said,
God’s love comes to perfection in him.
We can be sure that we are in God
only when the one who claims to be living in him
is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.
My dear people,
this is not a new commandment that I am writing to tell you,
but an old commandment
that you were given from the beginning,
the original commandment which was the message brought to you.
Yet in another way, what I am writing to you,
and what is being carried out in your lives as it was in his,
is a new commandment;
because the night is over
and the real light is already shining.
Anyone who claims to be in the light
but hates his brother
is still in the dark.
But anyone who loves his brother is living in the light
and need not be afraid of stumbling;
unlike the man who hates his brother and is in the darkness,
not knowing where he is going,
because it is too dark to see.

Psalm Psalm 95:1-3,5-6 ©
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.
O sing a new song to the Lord,
  sing to the Lord all the earth.
  O sing to the Lord, bless his name.
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.
Proclaim his help day by day,
  tell among the nations his glory
  and his wonders among all the peoples.
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.
It was the Lord who made the heavens,
  his are majesty and state and power
  and splendour in his holy place.
Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.

Gospel Acclamation Jn1:14,12
Alleluia, alleluia!
The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.
To all who received him he gave power to become children of God.
Alleluia, alleluia!
A light to enlighten the pagans
and the glory of your people Israel.

Gospel Luke 2:22-35 ©
When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace,
just 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 pagans
and the glory of your people Israel.’
As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’

5 posted on 12/28/2012 10:22:05 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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