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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 02-02-14, Feast, Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas)
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 02-02-14 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 02/01/2014 7:50:32 PM PST by Salvation

February 2, 2014

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

 

 

Reading 1 Mal 3:1-4

Thus says the Lord God:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R. (8) Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

reading 2 Heb 2:14-18

Since the children share in blood and flesh,
Jesus likewise shared in them,
that through death he might destroy the one
who has the power of death, that is, the Devil,
and free those who through fear of death
had been subject to slavery all their life.
Surely he did not help angels
but rather the descendants of Abraham;
therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters
in every way,
that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God
to expiate the sins of the people.
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered,
he is able to help those who are being tested.

Gospel Lk 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 favor of God was upon him.

or Lk 2:22-32

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.”



TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; ordinarytime; prayer; saints
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 02/01/2014 7:50:32 PM PST by Salvation
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2 posted on 02/01/2014 7:51:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Malachi 3:1-4

Shortcoming of Priests (Continuation)


(The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.)
[1] “Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord
whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the cove-
nant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. [2]
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he ap-
pears?

“For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; [3] 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, till they present right offerings to the LORD. [4] Then the offering of Judah
and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in
former years.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

2:17-3:5. As at the start of the book, the question raised here is a fairly general
one: What is the point of keeping the Law if those who do evil are the ones who
have success in life? The question focuses on rewards in this life only (cf. 2:17),
but the prophet’s reply extends beyond that: he announces a day of judgment
when priests and ritual will be purified (3:3-4) and the oppressed will receive jus-
tice (3:5); on the day of the Lord, God will set everything right.

However, the force of the oracle lies not so much in the fact of divine judgment
as in the mysterious way in which that day is announced (3:1-2). We are told
that the Lord of hosts himself will come to His temple, and his coming will strike
fear into the hearts of men. The passage, in fact, seems to be speaking about
three different personages — the messenger who will precede the coming of the
Lord and who later on, in the epilogue, is identified as the prophet Elijah (cf. 4:5);
the Lord himself; and the angel (literally the “messenger”) of the Covenant (3:1).
In mentioning the first (the messenger who prepares the way: 3:1) the prophet
may have in mind the sort of protocol used by kings who had a herald announce
their arrival. This personage’s role is similar to that described in Isaiah 40:3ff.
However, a little further on there is the “messenger of the covenant”. It is not
clear what this means; it could be the Lord himself; a further messenger, whose
role is similar to that of Moses, that is, a mediator of the Covenant; or, finally,
the messenger mentioned earlier, the herald, who is now being given a new role.
No clear interpretation can be established beyond doubt.

The New Testament will resolve this question of interpretation. The Synoptic Gos-
pels (cf. Mk 1:2) and Jesus himself (Mt 11:7-15; cf. Lk 7:24-30) identify the first
messenger, the one who prepares the way, with Elijah, and sees his fulfillment in
the person of John the Baptist. This makes Jesus the Lord who comes to his tem-
ple. The Church reads it that way when the liturgy of the feast of the Presentation
of Jesus in the Temple (cf. Lk 2:22-40) includes Malachi 3:1-4 as a first reading.
But as can be seen from many passages of the New Testament (for example,
the episode of the Transfiguration: Mt 17:1-13 and par.), Jesus is also the me-
diator of the New Covenant.

In the tradition of the Church, the ambiguity here is seen as a way of indicating
the two-fold coming of the Lord—in the humility of the flesh, and in the glory and
splendor of the End: “We proclaim the coming of Christ: he comes not once, but
twice, and the second coming will be more glorious than the first. The first was
a time of suffering; in the second, however, he will wear the crown of divine king-
ship. Almost everything in the life our Lord Jesus Christ has two meanings. He
was born twice: once, of the Father, from all eternity; and then, of the Virgin, in
the fullness of time. He comes twice, too: he came first in silence, like rain fal-
ling on wool; and he will come again in glory. First, he was wrapped in swad-
dling clothes and laid in a manger; when he comes again, he will be robed in
light. First, he shouldered the cross, without fear of suffering; when he comes
again, he will come in glory, surrounded by the hosts of angels. Let us consider
not only the life of the Lord, but also his future coming [...]. Because of his great
mercy, he was made man to teach men and persuade them; when he comes
again, all men, whether they want to or not, will be made subject to the power
and authority of the King. The words of the prophet Malachy refer to both of
these events” (St Cyril of Jerusalem, “Catecheses Ad Illuminandos”, 15, 1-2).

*********************************************************************************************
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.


3 posted on 02/01/2014 7:55:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Hebrews 2:14-18 (The Canadian Ordo includes vv. 10-11, 13b)

Jesus, Man’s Brother, was Crowned with Glory and Honor Above the Angels
(Continuation)


[10] For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing
many sons to glory should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through
suffering. [11] For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one
origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, [13b][saying,] “Here
am I, and the children God has given Me.”

[14] Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise par-
took of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the
power of death, that is, the devil, [15] and deliver all those who through fear of
death were subject to lifelong bondage. [16] For surely it is not with angels that
he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. [17] Therefore he had to
be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful
and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the
people. [18] For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able
to help those who are tempted.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

10. After pointing to the results of Christ’s death, the text stresses how appropri-
ate it was that he should be abased in this way: he had to make himself in every
way like his brethren in order to help them.

God the Father, who is the beginning and end of all things, desired to bring men
to glory by means of his Son. Christ was to be the author of their salvation and
therefore it was fitting that he should be made perfect through suffering. The Fa-
ther made his Son “perfect” in the sense that by becoming man and therefore
being able to suffer and die, he was fully equipped to be mankind’s representa-
tive. “God has acted in a manner in keeping with his kindness towards us: he
has clothed his first-born in a glory greater than that of all mankind and made him
outstanding as a champion. Suffering is, therefore, a way to attain perfection and
a source of salvation” (”Hom. on Heb.”, 4). By perfectly obeying his Father, offer-
ing his life and especially his passion and death, Christ offers a perfect and su-
perabundant sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins of mankind and makes full
atonement to the Father. As a reward for his obedience, Christ, as man, is made
Head of the Church and King of the universe. It is in that sense that he is made
“perfect” by the Father.

Ever since the Redemption, human suffering has become a way to perfection: it
acts as expiation for personal sins, it spurs man to assert his spiritual and trans-
cendental dimension, it makes for solidarity with others and links man to Christ’s
sacrifice. “Suffering must serve for conversion, that is, for the rebuilding of good-
ness in the subject, who can recognize the divine mercy in this call to repen-
tance [...] . But in order to perceive the true answer to the ‘why’ of suffering, we
must look to the revelation of divine love, the ultimate source of the meaning of
everything that exists [...]. Christ causes us to enter into the mystery and to dis-
cover the ‘why’ of suffering, as far as we are capable of grasping the sublimity of
divine love” (Bl. John Paul II, “Salvifici Doloris”, 12-13).

11. To accomplish the salvation of men Christ needed to be one of them — to
share, with them, a human nature. This is why Christ is the only “true sanctifier”,
that is, the priest who performs rites and sacrifices, taking things stained by sin
and making them pure and pleasing to God, that is, holy. Our Lord said some-
thing similar in the Gospel: “For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also
may be consecrated in truth” (In 17:19).

“Have all one origin”. Various interpretations have been given to these words.
Most have to do with the parallelism between the first man and Christ (cf. Acts
17:26; Rom 5:15-19), seeing this “origin” as Adam — in which case the text
would mean that Christ and other men are children of Adam. A more usual in-
terpretation sees the “one” origin as being God, thus stressing that Christ’s holy
humanity and the humanity of men both stem from the one Creator and derive
from the first man. In either case, Christ and the rest of men can rightly be called
“brethren”. “As to his divine generation he has no brethren or co-heirs, the only-
begotten Son of the Father, while we mortals are the work of his hands. But if
we consider his birth as man, he not only calls many by the name of brethren,
but treats them as such, since he admits them to share with him the glory of
his paternal inheritance” (”St Pius V Catechism”, I, 3, 10).

14. As in the prologue of St John’s Gospel (In 1:12-13), “flesh” and “blood” apply
to human nature in its weakened condition. Jesus has assumed man’s nature:
“He has taken it on without sin but with all its capacity to suffer pain, given that
he took a flesh similar to sinful flesh; he ‘shared therefore in flesh and blood’, that
is, he took on a nature in which he could suffer and die—which could not occur in
a divine nature” (St Thomas, “Commentary on Heb.”, 2, 4).

Christ chose to submit to death, which is a consequence of sin, in order to des-
troy death and the power of the devil. The Council of Trent teaches that, as a re-
sult of original sin, man “incurred the wrath and indignation of God, and conse-
quently incurred death [...] and, together with death, bondage in the power of him
who from that time had the empire of death” (”De Peccato Originali”, Can. 3; cf.
Rom 5:12; 6:12-14; 7:5; etc.). To explain this power of the devil, St Thomas com-
ments: “A judge has one kind of power of death: he can punish people with death;
a criminal has a different kind of power of death—a power he usurps by killing an-
other [...]. God has the first kind of dominion over death; the devil has the second
kind, for he seduces man to sin and leads him to death” (”Commentary on Heb.”,
2, 4).

Addressing Christ and his cross, the Church sings, “O altar of our victim raised,
/ O glorious passion ever praised, / by which our Life to death was rendered,
/ that death to life might thence be mended” (Hymn “Vexilla Regis”). The death
of Christ, the only one who could atone for man’s sin, wipes out sin and makes
death a way to God. “Jesus destroyed the demon”, St Alphonsus writes; “that
is, he destroyed his power, for the demon had been lord of death on account of
sin, that is, he had power to cause temporal and eternal death to all the children
of Adam infected by sin. And this was the victory of the Cross that Jesus, the
author of life, by dying obtained Life for us through that death” (”Reflections on
the Passion”, Chap. 5, 1).

15. Christ has freed men not from physical but from spiritual death and therefore
from fear of death, because he has given us certainty of future resurrection.
Man’s natural fear of death is easily explained by his fear of the unknown and his
instinctive aversion to what death involves; but it can also be a sign of excessive
attachment to this life. “Because it does not want to renounce its desires, the
soul fears death, it fears being separated from the body” (St Athanasius, “Oratio
Contra Gentes”, 3).

The fear of death which some people in the Old Testament had can be explained
by their not knowing what fate awaited them, and by the possibility of being com-
pletely cut off from God. But physical death is not something to be feared by
those who sincerely seek God: “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” St
Paul explains (Phil 1:21). “Don’t be afraid of death. Accept it from now on, gene-
rously...when God wills it, where God wills it, as God wills it. Don’t doubt what I
say: it will come in the moment, in the place and in the way that are best sent
by your Father-God. Welcome be our sister death!” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”,
739).

16. “It is not with angels that he is concerned”: the original text says literally “he
did not take angels with his hand”, “ did not catch hold of”, “did not take [the na-
ture of angels]”; meaning that Christ took to himself a human nature, not an an-
gelic nature. St John Chrysostom explains the text in this way: “What does he
mean by ‘take with his hand’; why does he not say ‘took on/assumed’ but in-
stead uses the expression ‘took with his hand’? The reason is this: this verb has
to do with those who are in pursuit of their enemies and are doing all they can to
catch those who are in flight from them and to seize those who resist. In other
words, humankind had fled from him and fled very far, for it says ‘we were very
far from God and were almost without God in the world’ (Eph 2:12). That is why
he came in pursuit of us and ‘seized us for himself’. The Apostle makes it clear
that he did all this entirely out of love for men, in his charity and solicitude for us”
(”Hom. on Heb.”, 2).

“This single reflection, that he who is true and perfect God became man, sup-
plies sufficient proof of the exalted dignity conferred on the human race by the
divine bounty; since we may now glory that the Son of God is bone of our bone,
and flesh of our flesh, a privilege not given to angels” (”St Pius V Catechism”,
I, 4, 11).

17. This is the first mention of the central theme of the epistle, the priesthood of
Christ. Because he is God and man, Jesus is the only Mediator between God
and men, who have lost God’s friendship and divine life on account of sin; he ex-
ercises this mediation as High Priest; his Love saves men by bridging the abyss
which separates the sinful stock of Adam from God whom it has outraged.

It first refers clearly to our Lord’s human nature: he is in no way different from men
(except that he is not guilty of sin: cf. Heb 4:15). “These words mean that Christ
was reared and educated and grew up and suffered all he had to suffer and final-
ly died” (Chrysostom, “Hom. on Heb.”, 5). “He partook of the same food as we do,”
writes Theodoret of Cyrus, “and he endured work; he experienced sadness in his
soul and shed tears; he underwent death” (”Interpretatio Ep. Ad Haebr.”, II).

Christ the Priest is able perfectly to understand the sinner and make satisfaction
to divine Justice. “In a judge what one most desires is mercy,” St Thomas writes,
“in an advocate, reliability. The Apostle implies that both things were found in
Christ by virtue of his Passion. Mankind desires mercy of him as judge, and
reliability of him as advocate” (”Commentary on Heb.”, 2, 4).

Christ’s priesthood consists in making expiation by a sacrifice of atonement and
a peace-offering for the sins of men: he takes our place and atones on our behalf:
“Christ merited justification for us [...] and made satisfaction for us to God the
Father” (Council of Trent, “De Iustificatione”, Chap. 7).

18. Suffering can link a person to Christ in a special and mysterious way. “The
Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in
the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which
the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through
which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemp-
tion through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the
Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the
redemptive suffering of Christ” (John Paul II, “Salvifici Doloris”, 19).

Christ’s main purpose in undergoing his passion was the Redemption of mankind,
but he also suffered in order to strengthen us and give us an example. “By taking
our weaknesses upon himself Christ has obtained for us the strength to overcome
our natural infirmity. On the night before his passion, by choosing to suffer fear,
anguish and sorrow in the garden of Gethsemane he won for us strength to resist
harassment by those who seek our downfall; he obtained for us strength to over-
come the fatigue we experience in prayer, in mortification and in other acts of de-
votion, and, finally, the fortitude to bear adversity with peace and joy” (St Alphon-
sus, “Reflections on the Passion”, Chap. 9, 1).

A person who suffers, and even more so a person who does penance, should re-
alize that he is understood by Christ. Christ will then console him and help him
bear affliction: “You too some day may feel the loneliness of our Lord on the
Cross. If so, seek the support of him who died and rose again. Find yourself a
shelter in the wounds in his hands, in his feet, in his side. And your willingness
to start again will revive, and you will take up your journey again with greater de-
termination and effectiveness” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way of the Cross”, XII, 2).

*********************************************************************************************
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 02/01/2014 7:56:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 2:22-40

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 re-
velation 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 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.”

Anna’s Prophecy


[36] And there was a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of
Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from
her virginity, [37] and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from
the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. [38] And coming
up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of Him to all who were
looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Childhood of Jesus


[39] And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. [40] And the child grew
and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

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 presentation and then re-
demption or buying back of the first-born. According to Leviticus 12:2-8, a woman
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 ob-
ligation 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.
Escriva, “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 Consola-
tion 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 prophecies
(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
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 also 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 others. 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
Family 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.


5 posted on 02/01/2014 7:57:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass


First reading

Malachi 3:1-4 ©

The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me. And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts. Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made. The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.


Psalm

Psalm 23:7-10 ©

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.

O gates, lift high your heads;

  grow higher, ancient doors.

  Let him enter, the king of glory!

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.

Who is the king of glory?

  The Lord, the mighty, the valiant,

  the Lord, the valiant in war.

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.

O gates, lift high your heads;

  grow higher, ancient doors.

  Let him enter, the king of glory!

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.

Who is he, the king of glory?

  He, the Lord of armies,

  he is the king of glory.

Who is the king of glory? He, the Lord, he is the king of glory.


Second reading

Hebrews 2:14-18 ©

Since all the children share the same blood and flesh, Christ too shared equally in it, so that by his death he could take away all the power of the devil, who had power over death, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it was not the angels that he took to himself; he took to himself descent from Abraham. It was essential that he should in this way become completely like his brothers so that he could be a compassionate and trustworthy high priest of God’s religion, able to atone for human sins. That is, because he has himself been through temptation he is able to help others who are tempted.


Gospel Acclamation

Lk2:32

Alleluia, alleluia!

The light to enlighten the Gentiles

and give glory to Israel, your people.

Alleluia!

EITHER:

Gospel

Luke 2:22-40 ©

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.’

  There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

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

OR:

Alternative Gospel

Luke 2:22-32 ©

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.’


6 posted on 02/01/2014 8:01:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
7 posted on 02/01/2014 8:02:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
8 posted on 02/01/2014 8:02:48 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

9 posted on 02/01/2014 8:03:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]


10 posted on 02/01/2014 8:04:14 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

11 posted on 02/01/2014 8:04:54 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


12 posted on 02/01/2014 8:06:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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February Devotion: The Holy Family

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of February has been primarily asociated with the Holy Family, probably due to the feast of Our Lord's presentation at the temple, celebrated on February 2. At the very outset of Christ's work on earth, God showed the world a family in which, as Pope Leo XIII teaches, "all men might behold a perfect model of domestic life, and of all virtue and holiness." The harmony, unity, and holiness which characterized this holy Family make it the model for all Christian families.

INVOCATION
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph most kind, Bless us now and in death's agony.

FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Grant unto us, Lord Jesus, ever to follow the example of Thy holy Family, that in the hour of our death Thy glorious Virgin Mother together with blessed Joseph may come to meet us and we may be worthily received by Thee into everlasting dwellings: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Roman Missal

CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY FAMILY
O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou defend us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace, and concord in Christian love: in order that, by conforming ourselves to the divine pattern of Thy family, we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.

Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by thy kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.

O Saint Joseph, most holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal necessities; that so we may be enabled to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, three times.

IN HONOR OF THE HOLY FAMILY
O God, heavenly Father, it was part of Thine eternal decree that Thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, should form a holy family with Mary, His blessed mother, and His foster father, Saint Joseph. In Nazareth home life was sanctified, and a perfect example was given to every Christian family. Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may fully comprehend and faithfully imitate the virtues of the Holy Family so that we may be united with them one day in their heavenly glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Holy Family Chaplet

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, be with me in my last hour.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul
in peace with you.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse. Amen.

Say 3 Our Father's, 3 Hail Mary's, and 3 Glory be's.

The Holy Family Icon by Nicholas Markell

PRAYER TO
THE HOLY FAMILY
=====================================================================================

GOD our Heavenly Father, You call all peoples to be united as one family in worshipping You as the one and true God. You willed that Your Son become man, giving Him a virgin mother and a foster father to form the Holy Family of Nazareth.

WE pray: may the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, image and model of every human family unit walk in the spirit of Nazareth and grow in the understanding of its particular mission in society and the Church. May our families be living cells of love, faithfulness and unity, thus reflecting God's covenant with humanity and Christ's redeeming love for His Church.

JESUS, Mary and Joseph protect our families from all evil; keep us, who are away from home, one in love with our dear ones.

The Holy Family


 
"The Holy Family with the infant St. John the Baptist ( the Doni tondo )" by Michelangelo c.1506, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Parent's Prayer

Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, and Son of Mary, I thank you for the gift of life you have entrusted to my care. Help me be a parent both tender and wise, both loving and forgiving.

Mary, Holy Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and our Motherly Queen of Heaven, nourish our family with your heavenly grace. Help us to remain faithful to The Most Holy Trinity, in all our sorrows and joys.

Joseph, Earthly father to our Lord God, guardian and spouse of Mary, keep our family safe from harm. Help us in all times of discouragement or anxiety.

Holy Family of Nazareth, help our family to walk in your footsteps. May we be peace-loving and peace-giving.
Amen.
 

Imitating the Holy Family: Four Traits that Make It Possible
[Catholic Caucus] On the Holy Family [Angelus]
Biblical Teachings on Marriage and Family. A Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Recovering God’s Plan for Marriage and Family: A Sermon on the Feast of the Holy Family

“Why were you looking for me?" (On the Feast of The Holy Family)
U.S. Postal Service Issues Holy Family Forever Stamp
On Prayer in the Life of the Holy Family
The Holy Family - held together by Love through all their problems [Ecumenical]
Feast of the Holy Family: The Christian Family is a Domestic Church
Chesterton on "The Human Family and the Holy Family"
Joseph, Mary and Jesus: A Model Family
ADVICE TO PARENTS by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
The Holy Family
St. Joseph as Head of the Holy Family (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

Feast of the Holy Family
Feast of the Holy Family (Dom Guéranger OSB)
The Feast of the Holy Family
The Holy Family vs. The Holy Innocents: A Christmas season reflection [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican creche to place Holy Family in Joseph's carpentry workshop
The Redemption and Protection of the Family [Feast of the Holy Family]
Study Backs Tradition of Loreto House - Stones in Altar Match Those in Nazareth, It Says
Unraveling Jesus' mystery years in Egypt
Gaudi’s Church of the Holy Family to be ready for worship in 2008
Imitating the Holy Family; Four Traits that Make It Possible
Lots of Graphics: Post your favorite image of the St. Mary and Child, the Holy Family...

13 posted on 02/01/2014 8:07:05 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
February 2014 Year A

Pope's Intentions:

Universal: That the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people.

For Evangelization: That priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization.

14 posted on 02/01/2014 8:07:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Daily Gospel Commentary

The Presentation of the Lord - Feast

Commentary of the day
Blessed Guerric of Igny (c.1080-1157), Cistercian abbot
1st Sermon for the Purification, 3-5 ; SC 166 (trans. ©Cistercian publications Inc., 1970)

"A light for revelation to the Gentiles"

O full of Grace, you I congratulate and praise. You gave birth to the Loving-Kindness I received; you gave shape to the candle I accepted. You prepared the wax for the touch of the light... when as the unblemished mother you clothed the unblemishable Word in unblemished flesh."

Come then, my brethren, give an eye to that candle burning in Simeon's hands. Light your candles too by borrowing from that Light; for these candles I speak of are the lamps which the Lord orders us to have in our hands (Lk 12,35). “Come to him and be enlightened” (Ps 34[33],6), so as to be not merely carrying lamps but to be very lamps yourselves, shining inside and out, for yourselves and for your neighbors... Come, I say, to Jesus who shines out to us from Symeon's arms. He will give light to your faith, luster to your works, meaning to your words, ardor to your prayer, purity to your intentions...

And when this life's lamp is extinguished there will arise a life's light which can never be extinguished, “a light brighter than the noonday, arising as it were at the evening of your life” (cf Jb 11,17). And at the very moment when you think you are burnt out, your wick's flame will “rise like the morning star” (cf ibid.) and “your darkness shall become as the noonday” (cf Is 58,10). “No more need of the sun's rays by day nor of the brilliance of the moon to light your way at night: the Lord will be for you an everlasting light” (Is 60,19), for the Lamb it is who is the lamp of the new Jerusalem (Rv 21,23), he who is “blessing and splendor through endless ages! Amen.” (Rv 7,12 Vg).


15 posted on 02/01/2014 8:17:00 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Some excellent Candlemass history, folklore, and meditations here:

http://www.missionstclare.com/english/people/feb2.html

17 posted on 02/01/2014 8:19:55 PM PST by lightman (O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, giving to Thy Church vict'ry o'er Her enemies.)
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Arlington Catholic Herald

GOSPEL COMMENTARY LK 2:22-40

Models of simplicity, obedience

Fr. Jack Peterson

 

On the feast of the Presentation, a pair of grateful hearts ventures up to the temple in Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph both responded to God’s grace and offered their radical “yes” to the will of the Father. God proceeded to bless them with the unfathomable grace of a Son who is both Messiah and Lord. They come to the temple this day with deeply grateful hearts offering their Gift back to God. They promise not to covet this Gift but to give Him wholly and completely to the Father for the great task assigned Him from the beginning of time — the salvation of world.

God, in turn, pours out new blessings upon the humble couple from Nazareth. Mary and Joseph come not only with grateful hearts, but obedient ones as well. God loves to bless obedient hearts. They show loving obedience to God by traveling to Jerusalem and performing two ancient Jewish traditions surrounding the birth of a male child. First, the mother must abstain from all ritual practices and then on the 40th day offer a twofold sacrifice: a lamb as a holocaust and a turtledove or pigeon as a sin offering. Second, harkening back to the exodus from Egypt, a first-born son belongs to God and must be ransomed by the parents who make an offering to a Jewish priest.

Mary and Joseph arrive in the temple to make these offerings to the Lord, and He blesses them most richly. Simeon and Anna serve as a great encouragement to Mary and Joseph because they confirm the identity of Jesus in the temple and the significance of the demanding journey upon which these young parents have recently embarked. Mary and Joseph soak up a brief moment of encouragement along the way.

God chooses once again the poor and lowly to carry out His plan. God calls a humble carpenter and a lowly handmaid to be the parents of His only begotten Son. The ancient Jewish tradition described above allows a poor family to substitute a turtledove or a pigeon for the prescribed lamb. St. Luke recounts that Mary and Joseph offered the sacrifice of a pair of birds in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord, thus confirming that the Holy Family was of simple means. God the Father chose the way of poverty for His Son. Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of God.

Furthermore, we see today that the shadow of the cross hangs over Jesus’ life from the very start. Simeon, the “righteous and devout” one, knows that Jesus’ life and ministry will be rejected by many and prophetically states that He will be “a sign that will be contradicted.” Simeon also states that a sword will pierce Mary’s heart referring to the many sorrows she will embrace as she participates in a unique way in her Son’s saving work, including the soldier’s lance that opens His side on the cross. Jesus’ whole life was directed to the cross. So were the lives of Mary and Joseph.

The parents of Jesus teach us a great deal in one day about what it means to be a faithful child of God. Mary and Joseph unassumingly model for us that we need to be profoundly grateful to God, obedient to His divine will, poor in spirit, and ready to carry our cross for the sake of their Son, Jesus.

Fr. Peterson is assistant chaplain at Marymount University in Arlington and director of the Youth Apostles Institute in McLean.


18 posted on 02/01/2014 8:31:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Archdiocese of Washington

Perspectives on the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus, the Light of the World

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

The Liturgical instinct of the Feast of the Presentation which we Celebrate today is “Light.” For Christ is our light and the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light! In the Gospel Simeon holds Jesus and calls him “A light for revelation to the Gentiles.” And thus, this feast has long featured the carrying of candles by the faithful in procession, and the blessing of candles. For this reason the feast was often called “Candlemas.”

Biblically the feast celebrates the “purification” of our Lady when, as a Jewish woman, she would present herself forty days after giving birth to be welcomed back to the community and was blessed. I have written more the history of that here: The Churching of Women

For this reflection, perhaps we do well to attend to four teachings or perspectives we gain of Jesus our Light in the readings. We are taught that our relationship with Jesus is: Cleansing, Consoling, Compelling, and Communing.

I. Cleansing - The Gospel opens with this description: 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.

It might strike us as odd, even irritating that a woman or a couple would need to be purified after giving birth. But ancient Jewish practice exhibited great reverence for rituals of birth and death. And on account of the deep mysteries of life that were represented not only by these events, but also the fluids (e.g. blood, and amniotic fluids) that accompanied them, a kind of purification or blessing was deemed necessary for those who returned to the community after these events. (See more at the link above).

And while we may wonder at (or even scoff) at these notions, the fact is that all of us need purification and cleansing. We are sinners, and we live in a world tainted by sin. The Lord must purify us all; and unless this happens, we will never be able to endure the great holiness, glory and purity of God or heaven.

Jesus our savior alone can cleanse and purify us and make us able to endure the glory of God. The first reading both describes our need for purification and also points to Jesus, the one who purifies us:

But who can endure the day of [the Lord's] coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, Refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD. Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD, as in the days of old, as in years gone by. (Mal 3:2-4)

Yes, only the Lord himself can purify us to endure his glory. Thank you Jesus, our Light and Savior for the sanctifying grace by which, alone, we could ever hope to endure and rejoice in the glory that waits. Thank you Jesus for your grace and mercy by which we are able to stand before our Father and praise him for all eternity. Thank you Jesus our purifier, our savior and Lord.

The first gift our saving relationship with Jesus is cleansing.

II. Consoling - Well aware of the burden of sin, ancient Israel longed for a savior. The pious knew well that sin brought strife, pain, and deep grief. Among the pious who longed for the Messiah were Simeon and Anna, who frequented the Temple looking, and longing. Of Simeon we are told:

[He] 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.

And of Anna who is described as among those who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem, we are told she was:

a prophetess, 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.

So here are two of the pious of Israel longing and looking for the consolation of the Messiah who would save the people and bring consolation and peace.

But what is true consolation and peace? It is to be reconciled to the Father, Abba; to once again see Him and be able to walk with him in the Garden in the cool of the morning. True consolation and peace are found only when the gates of heaven are opened and we look once again on the glorious and serene face of our Father who loves us.

Here too is a gift that can come only by the ministry of Jesus, for no one knows the Father but him and anyone to whom Jesus reveals Him. Jesus is our peace and our consolation by leading us back to his Father in and through his Sacred Heart, and by his Holy Passion.

Simeon, as he holds Jesus, is holding the Gift of the Father, and thus a tremendous gift of peace and consolation come to him in a kind of prevenient way. So he can say:

 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.

Such a consolation to hold the infant Jesus, and know that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to save us. Yes, and now Simeon can go forth in peace from this world for he has beheld the light of God’s saving love in Jesus.

III. Compelling - Among the things were are told in this Gospel is that Jesus is no merely neutral figure. He is the one on whom all human history, both collective and personal, hinges. And the “hinge” is our choice for or against Jesus. Simeon says to Mary,

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.

Yes, all of human history, personal and collective hinges on Jesus. Jesus compels a choice. We are free to choose for or against him, but we must choose. And on this choice we must make depends the rise or fall of us all.

Here is a dramatic truth, Jesus our savior has come, and now we must choose. Choose wisely and carefully, for upon your choice depends your rise or fall.

Jesus says, Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matt 12:30).

St Paul says, In the past God overlooked ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30).  And again, We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God! (2 Cor 5:20)

Where will you spend eternity? That depends on your stance toward Jesus. Your future rises or falls on Him. Will you choose him? You are free to choose, but you are not free not to choose! Jesus compels a choice, and on this choice your very life will rise or fall.

IV. Communing - It is a remarkable truth that Jesus did not merely save us from on high. He became flesh and lived among us. Today’s Gospel says,

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 favor of God was upon him.

Imagine the intimacy of Jesus dwelling among us then, and still now “tabernacling” among us in the Blessed Sacrament and in the temples of our heart through His Spirit. Our Lord seeks communion with us, and is not ashamed to call us his brethren (Heb 2:11).

On this feast of the Presentation allow the allow the Lord into the temple of your heart. Give him access to your soul by receiving him in Holy Communion and seek his presence tabernacled in our Church. Today Jesus is not only presented in the temple, he is presented to you. Reach out to hold on to him and receive in your heart, like Simeon. Run and tell others to come, like Anna.

Jesus our Light and salvation is here. He brings with him cleansing, consoling, and communing. He also compels a choice. Choose him now, run to him, he is here and he is calling!


19 posted on 02/01/2014 8:39:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday Gospel Reflections

Presentation of the Lord
February 2, 2003
Reading I: Malachi 3:1-4 II: Hebrews 2:14-18


Gospel
Luke 2:22-40

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him 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 according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."
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 depart 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 revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."
33 And his father and his mother marveled 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 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 my be revealed."
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity,
37 and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
38 And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.


Interesting Details
One Main Point

The Lord has come as promised to save all peoples.


Reflections
  1. Simeon's life was satisfied by seeing Jesus. What am I looking for in this life? What would satisfy me?
  2. What do the people around me consider as their goal, their satisfaction, or their salvation, by the way they live? How much does that influence me?

20 posted on 02/01/2014 8:45:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Sunday, February 02, 2014
The Presentation of the Lord (Feast)
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm 24:7-10
Hebrews 2:14-18
Luke 2:22-40 or 2:22-32

He who would climb to a lofty height must go by steps, not leaps.

-- Pope St. Gregory the Great


21 posted on 02/01/2014 8:47:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

22 posted on 02/01/2014 8:50:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


23 posted on 02/01/2014 8:50:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Presentation of the Lord

Presentation of the Lord
"Candlemas"
Feast Day
February 2nd

Presentation at the Temple
by Giovanni Bellini - 1460-64 - Tempera on wood
Galleria Querini Stampalia, Venice

Nunc Dimmitis
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."

Presentation - Directory on Popular Piety excerpt | Readings | Homily on the Presentation by Father Jerry Pokorsky


The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord - From the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

120. Until 1969, the ancient feast of the presentation of Our Lord, which is of Oriental origin, was known in the West as the feast of the Purification of Our Lady, and closed the Christmas season, forty days after the Lord's birth. This feast has for long been associated with many popular devotional exercises. The faithful:

121. Popular piety is sensitive to the providential and mysterious event that is the Conception and birth of new life. Christian mothers can easily identify with the maternity of Our Lady, the most pure Mother of the Head of the mystical Body - notwithstanding the notable differences in the Virgin's unique Conception and birth. These too are mothers in God's plan and are about to give birth to future members of the Church. From this intuition and a certain mimesis of the purification of Our Lady, the rite of purification after birth was developed, some of whose elements reflect negatively on birth.

The revised Rituale Romanum provides for the blessing of women both before and after birth, this latter only in cases where the mother could not participate at the baptism of her child.

It is a highly desirable thing for mothers and married couples to ask for these blessings which should be given in accord with the Church's prayer: in a communion of faith and charity in prayer so that pregnancy can be brought to term without difficulty (blessing before birth), and to give thanks to God for the gift of a child (blessing after birth).

122. In some local Churches, certain elements taken from the Gospel account of the Presentation of the Lord (Lk 2, 22-40), such as the obedience of Joseph and Mary to the Law of the Lord, the poverty of the holy spouses, the virginity of Our Lady, mark out the February 2 as a special feast for those at the service of the brethren in the various forms of consecrated life.

123. The feast of February 2 still retains a popular character. It is necessary, however, that such should reflect the true Christian significance of the feast. It would not be proper for popular piety in its celebration of this feast to overlook its Christological significance and concentrate exclusively on its Marian aspects. The fact that this feast should be "considered [...] a joint memorial of Son and Mother" would not support such an inversion. The candles kept by the faithful in their homes should be seen as a sign of Christ "the light of the world" and an expression of faith.


Collect:
Almighty ever-living God,
we humbly implore your majesty
that, just as your Only Begotten Son
was presented on this day in the Temple
in the substance of our flesh,
so, by your grace,
we may be presented to you with minds made pure.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
"Behold, I send My messenger to prepare the way before Me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming, and who can stand when He appears?

"For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' 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, till they present right offerings to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Second Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that He is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered and been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted.

Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22-40 [or Short form 2:22-32 - omit brackets]
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that 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 turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

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. 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. 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, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."

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

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanu-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till 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 gave thanks to God, and spoke of Him to all who were looking 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 city, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.]


"Bread on the Water"
Homily for the Feast of the Presentation
by Father Jerry Pokorsky

Children know how to play "bread on the water". Crumbs of bread tossed on the corner of small lake attracts fish. If the fish are fed repeatedly, the crumbs might eventually attract a big fish, suitable for the fly rod. From the point of view of the large fish that are eventually caught, the game of "bread on the water" turns out to be a terrible trick, not a game of charity. After all, they end up in the frying pan.

Sometimes "sacrificial giving" is not always what it appears to be. Occasionally, self-interest motivates external acts of charity. Hence, corporate sponsorship of civic events and the donation of sums of money to charities may only be "bread on the water," that is, forms of advertising or means to secure the goodwill of the community. "Bread on the water" donations may not be wrong at all or even offensive. The donations are often praiseworthy as a mutually beneficial business transaction. But strictly speaking, they are not acts of Christian charity.

The motives of giving and generosity are often mixed and difficult to untangle. A teacher may treat his students with candy, for example. But are the treats primarily acts of kindness or means of manipulating the affection of the children? Motivations are usually clarified and purified when an act of charity is put to the test. When the gift is accepted without an apparent payback, how does the benefactor respond?

Symbolic of their charity, Mary and Joseph present the child Jesus to the Lord in the Temple. As it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord." A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons are sacrificed to express Mary and Joseph's obedience to the law. The prophet Simeon, by the grace of God, recognizes the child as the Messiah. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he prophesies that the child will be the instrument of Israel's salvation. He adds that the child will be a "sign of contradiction" and promises, ominously, that "a sword [of sorrow] will pierce" the heart of Mary.

When Mary ritually presented her newborn Son in the Temple in Jerusalem, she did so in accordance with the Mosaic law. Aside from the turtle doves, there was no real cost to this symbolic act of obedience and charity. But the presentation of the Lord, certainly prefigured her sacrificial gift at the foot of the Cross. At the foot of the Cross, the sorrowful Mother reveals at once the quiet dignity of her love and the true sacrificial character of her charity. Her ritual offering of her child was accepted by God on Calvary. For Mary, the presentation of the Lord, offered in obedience to the Father, did not have a payback. It was an expression of love, a love that was tested and confirmed by the Cross.

The Cross was Mary's test of charity symbolically expressed during the Presentation of the Lord when Jesus was a child. She passed the test because her love was pure, not "bread on the water." Christian charity is disinterested love, love for the sake of God. Motivated by the love of God and following the example of Mary and her divine Son, Christians must learn to give of themselves without counting the cost or measuring the benefits.

24 posted on 02/02/2014 7:13:37 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Information: Presentation of Child Jesus in the Temple

Feast Day: February 2

25 posted on 02/02/2014 7:17:03 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Interactive Saints for Kids

Presentation of the Lord


Feast Day: February 02

Forty days after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph brought him to the great Temple in Jerusalem. There they presented Baby Jesus to the Heavenly Father. That was the Jewish law. The Holy Family obeyed it with loving hearts.

This was a very popular feast called Candlemas in past centuries and candles were blessed and carried in procession, to show the entry of Jesus as the light of the world.

While they were in the Temple, Mary also attended the Purification ceremony which was another custom. After the birth of their children, all Jewish mothers were supposed to go to the Temple for this ceremony. Mary did her duty cheerfully. She teaches us to be humble and obedient as she was.

A holy old priest of the Temple named Simeon learned from God that the Infant Jesus was truly the Savior. He held Mary's Son Jesus in his arms with joy and awe. "My own eyes are looking at my salvation," he exclaimed.

God allowed him recognize Jesus as the Savior and Simeon put his trust in the little Child. Imagine what Mary and Joseph were thinking. Then, inspired by God, Simeon told Mary that she would have to suffer very much. He was talking about the terrible pain our Blessed Mother would feel when Jesus died on the cross.

This feast of the Presentation reminds us that we belong to God first of all. Because he is our Father and Creator, and we owe him our loving obedience.


26 posted on 02/02/2014 7:19:58 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Perspectives on the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus, the Light of the World
SOLEMN PONTIFICAL MASS IN THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM FOR THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION

What Simeon and Anna Teach Us [at the Presentation of the Lord] (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
In Preparation for the Feast of Candlemas… [Catholic Caucus]
THE PURIFICATION, COMMONLY CALLED CANDLEMAS-DAY, Presentation of the Lord
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple
Feast of the Purification (Candlemas)
Candlemass and Ashes
SIMEON IS OPEN TO THE LORD’S ACTION [Presentation of the Lord]
The Mysteries of Candlemas
[Feast of the] Presentation of the Lord
Orthodox Feast of The Presentation of Our Lord and Savior in the Temple; February 2

27 posted on 02/02/2014 7:23:08 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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In Preparation for the Feast of Candlemas… [Catholic Caucus]
Feast of the Purification (Candlemas)
Candlemass and Ashes
The Mysteries of Candlemas
CANDLEMAS The Encounter Between Chaos and Light
28 posted on 02/02/2014 7:24:10 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Sunday, February 2

Liturgical Color: White

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the
Lord. Because they were devout Jews, Mary
and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the
temple with a sacrifice forty days after his
birth.

29 posted on 02/02/2014 1:24:24 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Daily Readings for:February 02, 2014
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: Almighty ever-living God, we humbly implore your majesty that, just as your Only Begotten Son was presented on this day in the Temple in the substance of our flesh, so, by your grace, we may be presented to you with minds made pure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

RECIPES

o    Crepes for the Feast of St. Bernadette

o    Crepes Saint-Gwenole

o    Crepes Suzette

o    Rosca de Reyes

o    Strawberry Cream Crepes

ACTIVITIES

o    ’Tis Said of Our Dear Lady

o    A Single Branch Three Roses Bore

o    Antiphon for Candlemas Day

o    Ave Maria Dear

o    Beautiful, Glorious

o    Candlemas Ceremony

o    Candlemas Day

o    Celebrating the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin

o    Family and Friends of Jesus Scrapbook Album

o    Feasts of Mary in the Family

o    Feasts of Our Lady in the Home

o    Hail Mary, Queen in Heav'n Enthroned

o    Mary Garden

o    Procession on Candlemas

o    Reflections on the Feast of the Presentation

o    Salve Regina

o    Shadow-Box Show and Procession for Candlemas

o    Stella Matutina

o    The feasts of Light: Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas

o    Virgin Blessed, Thou Star the Fairest

o    Candlemas in the Home

PRAYERS

o    Blessing of Candles

o    February Devotion: The Holy Family

o    Prayer for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas)

o    Family Candlemas Procession

o    Nunc Dimittis - The Canticle of Simeon

o    Table Blessing for the Feasts of the Mother of God

o    Novena for Purification

o    Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes

LIBRARY

o    Presentation Prefigures the Cross | Pope John Paul II

o    The Purification, Commonly Called Candlemas-Day | Alban Butler

o    The Season's Finale | Dr. Pius Parsch

·         Ordinary Time: February 2nd

·         Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Old Calendar: Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord commemorating when Jospeh and Mary brought the infant Jesus to the Temple forty days after his birth to perform the ritual of purification. It is commonly referred as Candlemas, since the blessing and procession of candles is included in today's liturgy.

According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the same feast, but referred to as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


The Readings
Today's first reading gives us an important insight to understand profoundly the mystery of the Lord’s Presentation in the Temple by Mary and Joseph, in accordance with the cannons of Mosaic Law. The text, taken from the Prophet Malachi says, ‘I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord who you seek’ (Mal 3:1). From all the Gospels, we know that it is the Precursor, St John the Baptist who was born 6 months before Jesus, that God sent to prepare His way. Putting these evangelical facts together, we can comprehend the words of the Prophet Malachi. The Lord God promised that He would send a Precursor to prepare His way. Since there is only 6 months between the birth of St John the Baptist and Jesus it is clear that the prophecy meant that suddenly after the Precursor, the Lord Himself will come. So, soon after the Baptist’s birth, God entered His temple. Jesus’ presentation signifies God’s entrance to His temple. God made man entered His temple, presenting Himself to those who were really searching for Him.

Today’s Gospel introduces us to different people and events that in themselves provide numerous lessons and themes for further reflection. First of all, Mary and Joseph respect the Mosaic Law by offering the sacrifice prescribed for the poor: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

Simeon and Anna were two venerable elderly people dedicated to prayer and fasting and so their strong religious spirit rendered them able to recognize the Messiah. In this sense we can see in the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple an extension of the ‘Pro Orantibus Day’ (For those who pray) that is celebrated on the feast of the Presentation of Mary (21 November). On this day, the Church demonstrates its gratitude to all those in the community that dedicate themselves in a privileged way to prayer, to those who have a particular religious vocation to the contemplative life. In the figure of the venerable Simeon, Jesus’ presentation in the temple, also reminds us that prayer and contemplation are not just a waste of time or an obstacle to charity. On the contrary, time could not be better spent than in prayer as true Christian charity is a consequence of a solid interior life. Only those who pray and offer penance, like Simeon and Anna, are open to the breath of the Spirit. They know how to recognize the Lord in the circumstances in which He manifests Himself because they possess an ample interior vision, and they have learned how to love with the heart of the One whose very name is Charity.

At the end of the Gospel Simeon’s prophecy of Mary’s sufferings is emphasized. Pope John Paul II taught that, ‘Simeon's words seem like a second Annunciation to Mary, for they tell her of the actual historical situation in which the Son is to accomplish his mission, namely, in misunderstanding and sorrow.’ (Redemptoris Mater, n16) The archangel’s announcement was a fount of incredible joy because it pertained to Jesus’ messianic royalty and the supernatural character of His virginal conception. The announcement of the elderly in the temple instead spoke of the Lord’s work of redemption that He would complete associating Himself through suffering to His Mother. Therefore, there is a strong Marian dimension to this feast and so in the Liturgical Calendar of the Extraordinary Form it is called the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This refers to the other aspect of the presentation that consists of the ritual purification of Jewish women after they had given birth. In Mary’s case this purification was not necessary, but it indicates the renewal of her total offering of herself to God for the accomplishment of His Divine Plan.

Simeon’s prophecy also announces that Christ will be ‘a sign of contradiction’. St Cyril of Alexandria, in one of his homilies, interpreted the words ‘sign of contradiction’ like a noble cross, as St Paul wrote to the Corinthians ‘a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles’ (1 Cor 1:23) […] It is a sign of contradiction in the sense that those who loose appear as foolish while in those who recognise its power [the cross] reveals salvation and life’ (c.f PG 77, 1044-1049).

— Excerpted from Congregation for the Clergy


Presentation of the Lord
The feast was first observed in the Eastern Church as "The Encounter." In the sixth century, it began to be observed in the West: in Rome with a more penitential character and in Gaul (France) with solemn blessings and processions of candles, popularly known as "Candlemas." The Presentation of the Lord concludes the celebration of the Nativity and with the offerings of the Virgin Mother and the prophecy of Simeon, the events now point toward Easter.

"In obedience to the Old Law, the Lord Jesus, the first-born, was presented in the Temple by his Blessed Mother and his foster father. This is another 'epiphany' celebration insofar as the Christ Child is revealed as the Messiah through the canticle and words of Simeon and the testimony of Anna the prophetess. Christ is the light of the nations, hence the blessing and procession of candles on this day. In the Middle Ages this feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or 'Candlemas,' was of great importance.

"The specific liturgy of this Candlemas feast, the blessing of candles, is not as widely celebrated as it should be, except of course whenever February 2 falls on a Sunday and thus takes precedence. There are two ways of celebrating the ceremony, either the Procession, which begins at a 'gathering place' outside the church, or the Solemn Entrance, celebrated within the church."

— From Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year


Until 1969, the ancient feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, which is of Oriental origin, was known in the West as the feast of the Purification of Our Lady, and closed the Christmas Cycle, forty days after the Lord's birth. This feast has for long been associated with many popular devotional exercises. The faithful:

Popular piety is sensitive to the providential and mysterious event that is the conception and birth of new life. Christian mothers can easily identify with the maternity of Our Lady, the most pure Mother of the Head of the mystical Body — notwithstanding the notable differences in the Virgin's unique conception and birth.

These too are mothers in God's plan and are about to give birth to future members of the Church. From this intuition and a certain mimesis of the purification of Our Lady, the rite of purification after birth was developed, some of whose elements reflect negatively on birth.

The revised Rituale Romanum provides for the blessing of women both before and after birth, this latter only in cases where the mother could not participate at the baptism of her child.

It is a highly desirable thing for mothers and married couples to ask for these blessings which should be given in accord with the Church's prayer: in a communion of faith and charity in prayer so that pregnancy can be brought to term without difficulty (blessing before birth), and to give thanks to God for the gift of a child (blessing after birth).

In some local Churches, certain elements taken from the Gospel account of the Presentation of the Lord (Lk 2, 22-40), such as the obedience of Joseph and Mary to the Law of the Lord, the poverty of the holy spouses, the virginity of Our Lady, mark out 2 February as a special feast for those at the service of the brethren in the various forms of consecrated life.

The feast of 2 February still retains a popular character. It is necessary, however, that such should reflect the true Christian significance of the feast. It would not be proper for popular piety in its celebration of this feast to overlook its Christological significance and concentrate exclusively on its Marian aspects. The fact that this feast should be 'considered [...] a joint memorial of Son and Mother' would not support such an inversion. The candles kept by the faithful in their homes should be seen as a sign of Christ 'the light of the world' and an expression of faith.

— Excerpted from Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

Things to Do:


30 posted on 02/02/2014 1:37:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Luke 2:22-40

The Presentation of the Lord

… and you yourself a sword will pierce. (Luke 2:35)

Did you know that this day has several celebrations associated with it, including one that involves a large rodent?

In the Church, today is the feast of the Presentation, the feast of the Purification of Mary, and even Candlemas, since it’s the day that churches traditionally bless their candles. Since the Middle Ages, it has also been observed as Groundhog Day.

How did Groundhog Day get tied into this day of holy feasts?

First for Pagans and, later, Christians, February 2 held a special significance as representing the crossing of seasons: when people turned from the weariness of winter and rejoiced in the approaching spring. Over time, Christian folklore developed a theory that if an animal—a hedgehog or a badger, for instance—saw its shadow on the feast of the Presentation, spring would be six more weeks away. German immigrants brought this tradition to North America, where the groundhog became the weather prognosticator.

In a sense, today’s Gospel reading reveals a similar shift for Mary. Still in the first days of motherhood, she hears Simeon prophesy that a sword will pierce her heart. At that moment, she crossed from the joy of new motherhood to a deeper awareness of the sacrifices that awaited her. We, too, cross over today: from the celebration of Christmas to the upcoming austerity of Good Friday, from rejoicing in Jesus’ birth to joining him on the way to Calvary.

Now is the time to put away your warm memories of Christmas and begin looking toward the Lenten call to repentance. Just as God provided you with grace during the winter’s festival, he will give you even more grace to embrace a season of self-denial.

“Lord, guide me as I turn from the manger to the cross. May this Lent be a time of renewal.”

Malachi 3:1-4; Psalm 24:7-10; Hebrews 2:14-18

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Malachi 3:1-4; Psalm 24:7-10; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40)

1. The first reading (Malachi 3:1-4) is a prophecy regarding the role of John the Baptist. This week at Mass, we celebrate the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. In what way was John the Baptist also a “presenter” of the Lord? In what ways are you?

2. In the Responsorial Psalm, this question is continually asked: “Who is this king of glory?” How would you answer this question?

3. The second reading (Hebrews 2:14-18), speaks of Jesus conquering sin, Satan, and death. What impact does this truth have in the way you live your life? What can you do to increase its impact on your life?

4. What role did the Holy Spirit have on the life of Simeon as told in the Gospel reading? What impact does the Holy Spirit have on your life?

5. What do you think Simeon meant when he said to Mary that a sword would pierce her soul? How was this prophetic word fulfilled in Mary’s life?

6. The meditation speaks of the impact the “Presentation of the Lord” had on Mary:with these words: “Still in the first days of motherhood, she hears Simeon prophesy that a sword will pierce her heart. At that moment, she crossed from the joy of new motherhood to a deeper awareness of the sacrifices that awaited her.” The meditation then goes on to say that “We, too, cross over today: from the celebration of Christmas to the upcoming austerity of Good Friday, from rejoicing in Jesus’ birth to joining him on the way to Calvary.” During this “Ordinary Time” after Christmas, what steps can you take to begin to prepare for the grace-filled Lenten season?

7. Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to make the upcoming Lenten season a time of repentance, self-denial, and renewal. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as a starting point.


31 posted on 02/02/2014 1:42:24 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

JESUS AND THE ANAWIMS: MARY, JOSEPH, SIMEON AND ANNA

(A biblical refection on THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD, Sunday, 2 February 2014)

Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22-40

First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4; Psalms: Psalm 24:7-10; Second Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18

wjpas0268 - LUKE 2 22-40

The Scripture Text:
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as is is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that 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 turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 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. 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. 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, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Thy 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 set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed .”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting, and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of Him to all who were looking 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 city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon Him. (Luke 2:22-40 RSV)

stdas0742 - PRESENTATION OF BABY JESUS

In first-century Palestine, Jewish family carried out several ceremonies soon after the birth of the first male child: circumcision, redemption of the baby, and purification of the mother. When Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple to carry out the second and third of these rituals, they met Simeon and Anna – seniors who lived in constant prayer and eager anticipation of the Messiah. Both Simeon and Anna were led by the Holy Spirit to recognize Jesus and rejoiced to see God’s promises fulfilled.

Speaking in a prophecy, Simeon told Mary that through her child, “the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul” (Luke 2:35). Semeon knew from experience that the revelation of the love of God brings with it a heart-wrenching revelation of human sin. Now, Mary too would be grieved to see this sin as it manifested itself in violent opposition to her Son.

As it happened for Simeon, so it will happen in us. With the revelation of Christ in us, we will come to see the darkness in our hearts more clearly. Under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, we will see our tendency to focus all our attention on the things of this world and dismiss the promises of the Kingdom. As we glimpse the goodness of God, we will begin to see how much we need the mercy of Jesus, and we will rejoice that such mercy is poured out upon us in abundance. We will begin to long for more of the Spirit, so that all opposition to God within us might be put aside.

Simeon and Anna’s longing for the Messiah led them to experience the laying-bare of their hearts. Our heavenly Father wants the same to happen in us as well – not to depress us, but to bring us to greater freedom. God wants to lift our souls into the infinite realm so that we will experience His glory and become a new creation. He longs to cleanse us from sin and fill us with every good thing. On this feast of the Presentation, let us present our hearts to Jesus and beg Him for deeper revelation of His love.

Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus! Pierce my heart with Your Glory, Lay bare my thoughts and intentions so that I might be purified by Your Holy Spirit! Amen.

32 posted on 02/02/2014 2:24:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Sunday Scripture Study

Feast of the Presentation of The Lord - Cycle A

February 2, 2014

 

Click here for USCCB readings

Opening Prayer  

First Reading: Malachi 3:19-20a (or 4:1-2a)

Psalm: 98:5-9

Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

Gospel Reading: Luke 21:5-19

 

QUESTIONS:

Closing Prayer

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  §§ 675, 585-86, 161, 2612, 2849

 

When we find ourselves in some grave danger we must not lose courage but firmly trust in God, for where there is the greatest danger, there is also the greatest help from Him who wants to be called our 'Help' in times of peace and in times of tribulation.   --St. Ambrose


33 posted on 02/02/2014 5:53:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Luke
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Luke 2
22 And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: Et postquam impleti sunt dies purgationis ejus secundum legem Moysi, tulerunt illum in Jerusalem, ut sisterent eum Domino, και οτε επλησθησαν αι ημεραι του καθαρισμου αυτων κατα τον νομον μωσεως ανηγαγον αυτον εις ιεροσολυμα παραστησαι τω κυριω
23 As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: sicut scriptum est in lege Domini : Quia omne masculinum adaperiens vulvam, sanctum Domino vocabitur : καθως γεγραπται εν νομω κυριου οτι παν αρσεν διανοιγον μητραν αγιον τω κυριω κληθησεται
24 And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons: et ut darent hostiam secundum quod dictum est in lege Domini, par turturum, aut duos pullos columbarum. και του δουναι θυσιαν κατα το ειρημενον εν νομω κυριου ζευγος τρυγονων η δυο νεοσσους περιστερων
25 And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him. Et ecce homo erat in Jerusalem, cui nomen Simeon, et homo iste justus, et timoratus, exspectans consolationem Israël : et Spiritus Sanctus erat in eo. και ιδου ην ανθρωπος εν ιερουσαλημ ω ονομα συμεων και ο ανθρωπος ουτος δικαιος και ευλαβης προσδεχομενος παρακλησιν του ισραηλ και πνευμα ην αγιον επ αυτον
26 And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. Et responsum acceperat a Spiritu Sancto, non visurum se mortem, nisi prius videret Christum Domini. και ην αυτω κεχρηματισμενον υπο του πνευματος του αγιου μη ιδειν θανατον πριν η ιδη τον χριστον κυριου
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, Et venit in spiritu in templum. Et cum inducerent puerum Jesum parentes ejus, ut facerent secundum consuetudinem legis pro eo, και ηλθεν εν τω πνευματι εις το ιερον και εν τω εισαγαγειν τους γονεις το παιδιον ιησουν του ποιησαι αυτους κατα το ειθισμενον του νομου περι αυτου
28 He also took him into his arms, and blessed God, and said: et ipse accepit eum in ulnas suas : et benedixit Deum, et dixit : και αυτος εδεξατο αυτο εις τας αγκαλας αυτου και ευλογησεν τον θεον και ειπεν
29 Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace : νυν απολυεις τον δουλον σου δεσποτα κατα το ρημα σου εν ειρηνη
30 Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum, οτι ειδον οι οφθαλμοι μου το σωτηριον σου
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum : ο ητοιμασας κατα προσωπον παντων των λαων
32 A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israël. φως εις αποκαλυψιν εθνων και δοξαν λαου σου ισραηλ
33 And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. Et erat pater ejus et mater mirantes super his quæ dicebantur de illo. και ην ιωσηφ και η μητηρ αυτου θαυμαζοντες επι τοις λαλουμενοις περι αυτου
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; Et benedixit illis Simeon, et dixit ad Mariam matrem ejus : Ecce positus est hic in ruinam, et in resurrectionem multorum in Israël, et in signum cui contradicetur : και ευλογησεν αυτους συμεων και ειπεν προς μαριαμ την μητερα αυτου ιδου ουτος κειται εις πτωσιν και αναστασιν πολλων εν τω ισραηλ και εις σημειον αντιλεγομενον
35 And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. et tuam ipsius animam pertransibit gladius ut revelentur ex multis cordibus cogitationes. και σου δε αυτης την ψυχην διελευσεται ρομφαια οπως αν αποκαλυφθωσιν εκ πολλων καρδιων διαλογισμοι
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. Et erat Anna prophetissa, filia Phanuel, de tribu Aser : hæc processerat in diebus multis, et vixerat cum viro suo annis septem a virginitate sua. και ην αννα προφητις θυγατηρ φανουηλ εκ φυλης ασηρ αυτη προβεβηκυια εν ημεραις πολλαις ζησασα ετη μετα ανδρος επτα απο της παρθενιας αυτης
37 And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Et hæc vidua usque ad annos octoginta quatuor : quæ non discedebat de templo, jejuniis, et obsecrationibus serviens nocte ac die. και αυτη χηρα ως ετων ογδοηκοντα τεσσαρων η ουκ αφιστατο απο του ιερου νηστειαις και δεησεσιν λατρευουσα νυκτα και ημεραν
38 Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. Et hæc, ipsa hora superveniens, confitebatur Domino : et loquebatur de illo omnibus, qui exspectabant redemptionem Israël. και αυτη αυτη τη ωρα επιστασα ανθωμολογειτο τω κυριω και ελαλει περι αυτου πασιν τοις προσδεχομενοις λυτρωσιν εν ιερουσαλημ
39 And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth. Et ut perfecerunt omnia secundum legem Domini, reversi sunt in Galilæam in civitatem suam Nazareth. και ως ετελεσαν απαντα τα κατα τον νομον κυριου υπεστρεψαν εις την γαλιλαιαν εις την πολιν εαυτων ναζαρετ
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong, full of wisdom; and the grace of God was in him. Puer autem crescebat, et confortabatur plenus sapientia : et gratia Dei erat in illo. το δε παιδιον ηυξανεν και εκραταιουτο πνευματι πληρουμενον σοφιας και χαρις θεου ην επ αυτο

34 posted on 02/02/2014 6:16:56 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
22. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him 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 that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

CYRIL; Next after the circumcision they wait for the time of purification, as it is said, And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were come.

THEOPHYL; If you diligently examine the words of the law, you will find indeed that the mother of God as she is free from all connection with man, so is she exempt from any obligation of the law. For not every woman who brings forth, but she who has received seed and brought forth, is pronounced unclean, and by the ordinances of the law is taught that she must be cleansed, in order to distinguish probably from her who though a virgin has conceived and brought forth. But that we might be loosed from the bonds of the law, as did Christ, so also Mary submitted herself of her own will to the law.

TITUS BOST. Therefore the Evangelist has well observed, that the days of her purification were come according to the law, who since she had conceived of the Holy Spirit, was free from all uncleanness. It follows, They brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.

ATHAN. But when was the Lord hid from His Father's eye, that He should not be seen by Him, or what place is excepted from His dominion, that by remaining there He should be separate from His Father unless brought to Jerusalem and introduced into the temple? But for us perhaps these things were written. For as not to confer grace on Himself was He made man and circumcised in the flesh, but to make us Gods through grace, and that we might be circumcised in the Spirit, so for our sakes is He presented to the Lord, that we also might learn to present ourselves to the Lord.

THEOPHYL; On the thirty-third day after His circumcision He is presented to the Lord, signifying in a mystery that no one but he who is circumcised from his sins is worthy to come into the Lord's sight, that no one who ho has not severed himself from all human ties can perfectly enter into the joys of the heavenly city. It follows, As it is written in the law of the Lord.

ORIGEN; Where are they who deny that Christ proclaimed in the Gospel the law to be of God, or can it be supposed that the righteous God made His own Son under a hostile law which He Himself had not given? It is written in the law of Moses as follows, Every male which opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord.

THEOPHYL; By the words, opening the womb, he signifies the first-born both of man and beast, and each one of which was, according to the commandment, to be called holy to the Lord, and therefore to become the property of the priest, that is, so far that he was to receive a price for every first-born of man, and oblige every unclean animal to be ransomed.

GREG. NYSS. Now this commandment of the law seems to have had its fulfillment in the incarnate God, in a very remarkable and peculiar manner. For He alone, ineffably conceived and incomprehensibly brought forth, opened the virgin's womb, till then unopened by marriage, and after this birth miraculously retaining the seal of chastity.

AMBROSE; For no union with man disclosed the secrets of the virgin's womb, but the Holy Spirit infused the immaculate seed into an inviolate womb. He then who sanctified another womb in order that a prophet should be born, He it is who has opened the womb of His own mother, that the Immaculate should come forth. By the words opening the womb, he speaks of birth after the usual manner, not that the sacred abode of the virgin's womb, which our Lord in entering sanctified, should now be thought by His proceeding forth from it to be deprived of its virginity.

GREG. NYSS. But the offspring of this birth is alone seen to be spiritually male, as contracting no guilt from being born of a woman. Hence He is truly called holy, and therefore Gabriel, as if announcing that this commandment belonged to Him only, said, That Holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called, the Son of God. Now of other first-borns the wisdom of the Gospel has declared that they are called holy from their being offered to God. But the first-born of every creature, That holy thing which is born, &c. the Angel pronounces to be in the nature of its very being holy.

AMBROSE; For among those that are born of a woman, the Lord Jesus alone is in every thing holy, who in the newness of His immaculate birth experienced not the contagion of earthly defilement, but by His Heavenly Majesty dispelled it. For if we follow the letter, how can every male be holy, since it is undoubted that many have been most wicked? But He is holy whom in the figure of a future mystery the pious ordinances of the divine law prefigured, because He alone was to open the hidden womb of the holy virgin Church for the begetting of nations.

CYRIL; Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! He offers victims, Who in each victim is honored equally with the Father. The Truth preserves the figures of the law. He who as God is the Maker of the law, as man has kept the law. Hence it follows, And that they should give a victim as it was ordered in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.

THEOPHYL; Now this was the victim of the poor. For the Lord commanded in the law that they who were should offer a lamb for a son or a daughter as well as a turtle dove or pigeon; but they who were not able to offer a lamb should give two turtle doves or two young pigeons. Therefore the Lord, though he was rich, deigned to become poor, that by his poverty He might make us partakers of His riches.

CYRIL; But let us see what these offerings mean. The turtle dove is the most vocal of birds, and the pigeon the gentlest. And such was the Savior made unto us; He was endowed with perfect meekness, and like the turtle dove entranced the world, filling His garden with His own melodies. There was killed then either a turtle dove or a pigeon, that by a figure He might be shown forth to us as about to suffer in the flesh for the life of the world.

THEOPHYL; Or the pigeon denotes simplicity, the turtle dove chastity, for the pigeon is a lover of simplicity, and the turtle dove of chastity, so that if by chance she has lost her mate, she heeds not to find another. Rightly then are the pigeon and turtle dove offered as victims to the Lord, because the simple and chaste conversation of the faithful is a sacrifice of righteousness well pleasing to Him.

ATHAN. He ordered two things to be offered, because as man consists of both body and soul, the Lord requires a double return from us, chastity and meekness, not only of the body, but also of the soul. Otherwise, man will be a dissembler and hypocrite, wearing the face of innocence to mask his hidden malice.

THEOPHYL; But while each bird, from its habit of wailing, represents the present sorrows of the saints, in this they differ, that the turtle is solitary, but the pigeon flies about in flocks, and hence the one points to the secret tears of confession, the other to the public assembling of the Church.

THEOPHYL; Or the pigeon which flies in flocks sets forth the busy intercourse of active life. The turtle, which delights in solitariness, tells of the lofty heights of the contemplative life. But because each victim is equally accepted by the Creator, St. Luke has purposely omitted whether the turtles or young pigeons were offered for the Lord, that he might not prefer one mode of life before another, but teach that both ought to be followed.

25. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26. And it was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28. Then took he him up in his arms.

AMBROSE; Not only did Angels and Prophets, the shepherds and his parents, bear witness to the birth of the Lord, but the old men and the righteous. As it is said, And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and he was a just man, and one who feared God. For scarcely is righteousness preserved without fear, I mean not that fear which dreads the loss of worldly goods, (which perfect love casts out,) but that holy fear of the Lord which abides for ever, by which the righteous man, the more ardent his love to God, is so much the more careful not to offend Him.

AMBROSE; Well is he called righteous who sought not his own good, but the good of his nation, as it follows, Waiting for the consolation of Israel.

GREG. NYSS. It was not surely worldly happiness that the prudent Simeon was waiting for as the consolation of Israel, but a real happiness, that is, a passing over to the beauty of truth from the shadow of the law. For he had learnt from the sacred oracles that he would see the Lord's Christ before he should depart out of this present life. Hence it follows, And the Holy Spirit was in him, (by which indeed he was justified,) and he received an answer from the Holy Spirit.

AMBROSE; He desired indeed to be loosed from the chains of bodily infirmity, but he wails to see the promise, for he knew, Happy are those eyes which shall see it.

GREG. Hereby also we learn with what desire the holy men of Israel desired to see the mystery of His incarnation.

THEOPHYL; To see death means to undergo it, and happy will he be to see the death of the flesh who has first been enabled to see with the eyes of his heart the Lord Christ, having his conversation in the heavenly Jerusalem, and frequently entering the doors of God's temple, that is, following the examples of the saints in whom God dwells as in His temple. By the same grace of the Spirit whereby he foreknew Christ would come, he now acknowledges Him come, as it follows, And he came by the Spirit into the temple.

ORIGEN; If you will touch Jesus and grasp Him in your hands, strive with all your strength to have the Spirit for your guide, and come to the temple of God. For it follows, And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, (i.e. Mary His mother, and Joseph His reputed father,) to do for him after the custom of the law,

then took he him up in his arms.

GREG. NYSS. How blessed was that holy entrance to holy things through which he hastened on to the end of life, blessed those hands which handled the word of life, and the arms which were held out to receive Him!

THEOPHYL; Now the righteous man, according to the law, received the Child Jesus in his arms, that he might signify that the legal righteousness of works under the figure of the hands and arms was to be changed for the lowly indeed but saving grace of Gospel faith The old man received the infant Christ, to convey thereby that this world, now worn out as it were with old age, should return to the childlike innocence of the Christian life.

28. - and blessed God, and said,
29. Lord, now let you your servant depart in peace, according to your word:
30. For mine eyes have seen your salvation,
31. Which you have prepared before the face of all people;
32. A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.

ORIGEN; If we marvel to hear that a woman was healed by touching the hem of a garment, what must we think of Simeon, who received an Infant in his arms, and rejoiced seeing that the little one he carried was He who had come to let loose the captive! Knowing that no one could release him from the chains of the body with the hope of future life, but He whom he held in his arms. Therefore it is said, And he blessed God, saying, Lord, now let you your servant depart.

THEOPHYL. When he says Lord, he confesses that He is the very Lord of both life and death, and so acknowledges the Child whom he held in his arms to be God.

ORIGEN; As it he said, "As long as I held not Christ, I was in prison, and could not escape from my bonds."

BASIL; If you examine the words of the righteous, you will find that they all sorrow over this world and its mournful delay. Alas me! says David, that my habitation is prolonged.

AMBROSE; Observe then that this just man, confined as it were in the prison house of his earthly frame, is longing to be loosed, that he may again be with Christ. But whoso would be cleansed, let him come into the temple; - into Jerusalem: let him wait for the Lord's Christ, let him receive in his hands the word of God, and embrace it as it were with the arms of his faith. Then let him depart that he might not see death who has seen life.

GREEK EX. Simeon blessed God also, because the promises made to him had received their true fulfillment. For He was reckoned worthy to see with his eyes, and to carry in his arms the consolation of Israel. And therefore he says, According to your word, i.e. since I have obtained the completion of your promises. And now that I have seen with my eyes what was my desire to see, now let you your servant depart, neither dismayed at the taste of death, nor harassed with doubting thoughts: as he adds, in peace.

GREG. NYSS. For since Christ has destroyed the enemy, which is sin, and has reconciled us to the Father, the removal of saints has been in peace.

ORIGEN; But who departs from this world in peace, but he who is persuaded that was Christ reconciling the world to Himself; who has nothing hostile to God, having derived to himself all peace by good works in himself?

GREEK EX. But it had been twice promised to him that he should not see death before ho should see the Lord's Christ, and therefore he adds, to show that this promise was fulfilled, For mine eyes have seen your salvation.

GREG. NYSS. Blessed are the eyes, both of your soul and your body. For the one visibly embrace God, but the others not considering those things which are seen, but enlightened by the brightness of the Spirit of the Lord, acknowledge the Word made flesh. For the salvation which you have perceived with your eyes is Jesus Himself, by which name salvation is declared.

CYRIL; But Christ was the mystery which has been revealed in the last times of the world, having been prepared before the foundation of the world. Hence it follows, which you have prepared before the face of all men.

ATHAN. That is to say, the salvation wrought by Christ for the whole world. How then was it said above that he was watching for the consolation of Israel, but because he truly perceived in the spirit that consolation would be to Israel at that time when salvation was prepared for all people.

GREEK EX. Mark the wisdom of the good and venerable old man, who before that he was thought worthy of the blessed vision, was waiting for the consolation of Israel, but when he obtained that which he was looking for, exclaims that he saw the salvation of all people. So enlightened was he by the unspeakable radiance of the Child, that the perceived at a glance things that were to happen a long time after.

THEOPHYL. By these words, Before the face, he signifies that our Lord's incarnation would be visible to all men. And this salvation he says is to be the light of the Gentiles and the glory of Israel, as it follows, A light to lighten the Gentiles.

ATHAN. For the Gentiles before the coming of Christ were lying in the deepest darkness, being without the knowledge of God.

CYRIL; But Christ coming was made a light to them that sat in darkness, being sore oppressed by the power of the devil but they were called by God the Father to the knowledge of His Son, Who is the true light.

GREG. NYSS. Israel was enlightened though dimly by the law, so he says not that light came to them, but his words are, to be the glory of your people Israel. Calling to mind the ancient history that as of old Moses after speaking with God returned with his face glorious, so they also coming to the divine light of His human nature, casting away their old veil, might be transformed into the same image from glory to glory. For although some of them were disobedient, yet a remnant were saved and came through Christ to glory, of which the Apostles were first-fruits, whose brightness illumines the whole world. For Christ was in a peculiar manner the glory of Israel, because according to the flesh He came forth from Israel, although as God He was over all blessed for ever.

GREG. NYSS, He said therefore, of your people, signifying that not only was He adored by them, but moreover of them was He born according to the flesh.

THEOPHYL; And well is the enlightening of the Gentiles put before the glory of Israel, because when the fullness of the Gentiles shall have come in, then shall Israel be safe.

33. And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.
34. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35. (Yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

GREEK EX. The knowledge of supernatural things, as often as it is brought to the recollection, renews the miracle in the mind, and hence it is said, His father and mother marveled at those things which were said of him.

ORIGEN; Both by the angel and the multitude of the heavenly host, by the shepherds also, and Simeon.

THEOPHYL; Joseph is called the father of the Savior, not because he was (as the Photinians say) His real father, but because from regard to the reputation of Mary, all men considered him so.

AUG. He however might be called His father in that light in which, he is rightly regarded as the husband of Mary, that is, not from any carnal connection, but by reason of the very bond of wedlock, a far closer relationship than that of adoption. For that Joseph was not to be called Christ's father was not, because he had not begotten Him by cohabitation, since in truth he might be a father to one whom he had not begotten from his wife, but had adopted from another.

ORIGEN; But they who look deeper into the matter may say, that since the genealogy is deduced from David to Joseph, therefore lest Joseph should seem to be mentioned for no purpose, as not being the father of the Savior, he was called His father, that the genealogy might maintain sup. its place.

GREEK EX. Having given praise to God, Simeon now turns to bless them that brought the Child, as it follows, And Simeon blessed them. He gave to each a blessing, but his presage of hidden things he imparts only to the mother, in order that in the common blessing He might not deprive Joseph of the likeness of a father, but in what he says to the mother apart from Joseph he might proclaim her to be the true mother.

AMBROSE; Behold what abundant grace is extended to all men by the birth of the Lord, and how prophecy is withheld from the unbelievers, not from the righteous. Simeon also prophesies that Christ Jesus has come for the fall and rising again of many.

ORIGEN; They who explain this simply, may say that He came for the fall of unbelievers, and the rising again of believers.

CHRYS. As the light though it may annoy weak eyes, is still light; in like manner the Savior endures, though many fall away, for His office is not to destroy; but their way is madness. Wherefore not only by the salvation of the good but by the scattering of the wicked, is His power shown. For the sun the brighter it shines, is the more trying to the weak sight.

GREG. NYSS. Mark the nice distinction here observed. Salvation is said to be prepared before the face of all people, but the falling and raising is of many; for the Divine purpose was the salvation and sanctification of every one whereas the falling and lifting up stands in the will of many believers and unbelievers. But that those who were lying in unbelief should be raised up again is not unreasonable

ORIGEN; The careful interpreter will say, that no one falls who was not before standing. Tell me then, who were they who stood, for whose fall Christ came?

GREG. NYSS. But by this he signifies a fall to the very lowest, as if the punishment before the mystery of the incarnation, fell far short of that after the giving and preaching of the Gospel dispensation And those spoken of are chiefly of Israel, who must of necessity forfeit their ancient privileges, and pay a heavier penalty than any other nation, because they were so unwilling to receive Him Who had long been prophesied among them, had been worshipped, and had come forth from them. In a most especial manner then he threatens them with not only a fall from spiritual freedom, but also the destruction of their city, and of those who dwelt among them. But a resurrection is promised to believers, partly indeed as subject to the law, and about to be delivered from its bondage, but partly as buried together with Christ, and rising with Him.

GREG. NYSS. Now from these words, you may perceive through the agreement of men's minds on the word of prophecy, that one and the same God and lawgiver has spoken both in the Prophets and the New Testament. For the language of prophecy declared that there shall be a stone of falling, and a rock of offense, that they who believe on Him should not be confounded. The fall therefore is to them who are offended with the meanness of His coming in the flesh; the rising again to those who acknowledge the steadfastness of the Divine purpose.

ORIGEN; There is also a deeper meaning aimed against those who raise their voices against their Creator, saying, Behold the God of the Law and the Prophets of what sort He is! He says, I kill, and I make alive. If God then is a bloody judge and a cruel master, it is most plain that Jesus is His Son, since the same things here are written of Him, namely, that He comes for the fall and rising again of many.

AMBROSE; That is, to distinguish the merits of the just and the unjust, and according to the quality of our deeds, as a true and just Judge, to decree punishment or rewards.

ORIGEN; But we must take care lest by chance the Savior should not come to some equally for the fall and rising again; for when I stood in sin, it was first good for me to fall, and die to sin. Lastly, Prophets and Saints when they were designing some great thing, used to fall on their faces, that by their fall their sins should be the more fully blotted out. This it is that the Savior first grants to you. You were a sinner, let that which is sin fall in you, that you may thence rise again, and say, If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.

CHRYS. The resurrection is a new life and conversation. For when the sensual man becomes chaste, the covetous merciful, the cruel man gentle, a resurrection takes place. Sin being dead, righteousness rises again. It follows, And for a sign which shall be spoken against.

BASIL; The sign which is spoken against is called in Scripture, the cross. For Moses, it says, made a brazen serpent, and placed it for a sign.

GREG. NYSS. He has joined together honor and dishonor. For to us Christians this sign is a token of honor, but it is a sign of contradiction, inasmuch by some indeed it is received as absurd and monstrous, by others with the greatest veneration. Or perhaps Christ Himself is termed a sign, as having a supernatural existence, and as the author of signs.

BASIL; For a sign betokens something marvelous and mysterious, which is seen indeed by the simple minded.

ORIGEN; But all the things which history relates of Christ are spoken against, not that those who believe on Him speak against Him, (for we know that all the things which are written of Him are true,) but that every thing which has been written of Him is with the unbelievers a sign which is spoken against.

GREG. NYSS. Though these things are said of the Son, yet they have reference also to His mother, who takes each thing to herself, whether it be of danger or glory. He announces to her not only her prosperity, but her sorrows; for it follows, And a sword shall pierce through your own heart.

THEOPHYL; No history tells us that Mary departed this life by being slain with the sword, therefore since not the soul but the body is killed with iron, we are left to understand that sword which is mentioned, And a sword in their lips, that is, grief because of our Lord's passion passed through her soul, who although she saw Christ the very Son of God die a voluntary death, and doubted not that He who was begotten of her flesh would overcome death, could not without grief see Him crucified.

AMBROSE; Or it shows the wisdom of Mary, that she was not ignorant of the heavenly Majesty For the word of God is living and strong, and sharper than the sharpest sword

AUG. Or by this is signified that Mary also, through whom was performed the mystery of the incarnation, looked with doubt and astonishment at the death of her Lord, seeing the Son of God so humbled as to come down even to death. And as a sword passing close by a man causes fear, though it does not strike him; so doubt also causes sorrow, yet does not kill; for it is not fastened to the mind, but passes through it as through a shadow.

GREG. NYSS. But it is not meant that she alone was concerned in that passion, for it is added, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. The word that marks the non event; it is not used causatively; for when all these events took place, there followed the discovery of many men's intentions. For some confessed God on the cross, others even then ceased not from their blasphemies and revilings. Or this was said, meaning that at the time of the passion the thoughts of men's hearts should be laid open, and be corrected by the resurrection. For doubts are quickly superseded by certainty. Or perhaps by revealing may be meant, the enlightening of the thoughts, as it is often used in Scripture.

THEOPHYL; But now even down to the close of the present time, the sword of the severest tribulation ceases not to go through the soul of the Church, when with bitter sorrow she experiences the evil speaking against the sign of faith, when hearing the word of God that many are raised with Christ, she finds still more falling from the faith, when at the revealing of the thoughts of many hearts, in which the good seed of the Gospel has been sown, she beholds the tares of vice overshooting it, spreading beyond it, or growing alone.

ORIGEN; But the evil thoughts of men were revealed, that He Who died for us might slay them; for while they were hidden, it was impossible to utterly destroy them. Hence also when we have sinned we ought to say, Mine iniquity have I not hid. For if we make known our sins not only to God, but to whoever can heal our wounds, our sins will be blotted out.

Catena Aurea Luke 2
35 posted on 02/02/2014 6:17:30 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


The Presentation of the Temple

Philippe de Champaigne

1648
Oil on canvas, 257 x 197 cm
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels


36 posted on 02/02/2014 6:18:02 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Simeon and Anna Praise Infant Jesus

Arent de Gelder

ca 1700

37 posted on 02/02/2014 6:20:16 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ


38 posted on 02/02/2014 6:20:49 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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The Lord Suddenly Comes to His Temple

 

 

Pastor’s Column

Presentation in the Temple

February 2, 2014

 

Anna the prophetess, one of my favorite bible characters, has been waiting patiently all these years (Luke 2:22-40), coming to the temple night and day in fasting and prayer. She is ready when the Lord comes! She does not know that Christ, Mary and St. Joseph have come. No, she happens to be at just the right time and place because she's always there, always in the Lord’s presence. She is ready. And she knows who she is looking at when she sees this baby!

I love Anna – she doesn't say anything but she speaks volumes. She's every faithful "pray-er" who is open to the Spirit when it comes. The Lord will come suddenly! He's going to catch us by surprise. We will be going along thinking that things will always be as they always have been and suddenly we will be confronted by the Lord and the opportunity of a lifetime will be upon us (like building a church). And that opportunity will often be disguised as suffering.

So suddenly, after many decades of routine, Anna comes in and finds that everything is changed. In the same way, when the Lord enters our life, it will often be very dramatically and we have to recognize those opportunities when they come. When we encounter Christ, he will begin refining and purifying us, an image that is very prevalent in Scripture.

It's helpful to remind ourselves as to how we get refined metal, whether it's iron or gold or silver or copper. The raw ore is heated, sometimes repeatedly, until a certain temperature is reached, the dross falls away and the metal that is wanted separates from the unwanted material around it. In the case of gold, it floats to the top. It would seem as though the Lord uses these images to explain how he purifies us. He does it by "turning up the heat." In other words, it is through suffering that we are purified.

There is an object to this, and that is to bring out our best self and detach us from those things which are harmful. This process can be painful at times. This purification process can come on suddenly and without warning......how suddenly does the Lord appear in his temple, purifying us!

But we are attached to our dross; we don't want to be purified! We say, "I love my dross and don't want to be pure Gold!" But God knows that we have only this life in which to be purified in faith and our whole eternity depends on it.

What kinds of things purify the most? A selfless act that costs us something, that which we do without a visible reward: going about our daily work faithfully, even if we can't stand our boss or hate our work; being faithful to our spouses or children by still being there for them when they are seemingly unlovable! Acceptance of a cross without complaint, especially illness in ourselves or others; visiting my relatives in a nursing home or caring for the sick; anything done for the poor, hungry, lonely, or homeless.

                                    Father Gary


39 posted on 02/02/2014 6:35:45 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Reflections from Scott Hahn

Scott Hahn Reflects on The Presentation of the Lord

Posted by Dr. Scott Hahn on 01.31.14 |

Readings:
Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm 24:7-10
Hebrews 2:14-18
Luke 2:22-40

Today’s feast marks the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple, forty days after he was born. As the firstborn, he belonged to God.  According to the Law, Mary and Joseph were required to take him to the Temple and “redeem” him by paying five shekels. At the same time, the Law required the child’s mother to offer sacrifice in order to overcome the ritual impurity brought about by childbirth.

So the feast we celebrate shows a curious turn of events. The Redeemer is redeemed. She who is all-pure presents herself to be purified. Such is the humility of our God. Such is the humility of the Blessed Virgin. They submit to the law even though they are not bound by it.

The drama surrounding Jesus’ conception and birth began in the Temple — when the Archangel visited Mary’s kinsman, Zechariah the priest. And now the story of Jesus’ infancy comes to a fitting conclusion, again in the Temple.

All the readings today concern Jerusalem, the Temple, and the sacrificial rites. The first reading comes from the Prophet Malachi, who called the priests to return to faithful service — and foretold a day when a Messiah would arrive with definitive purification of the priesthood.

Likewise, the Psalm announces to Jerusalem that Jerusalem is about to receive a great visitor. The Psalmist identifies him as “The LORD of hosts … the king of glory.”

There is another curious turn to the Gospel story. The story nowhere mentions Jesus’ “redemption,” but seems to describe a religious consecration — such as a priest might undergo. Saint Luke tells us that Jesus is “presented” in the Temple, using the same verb that Saint Paul uses to describe the offering of a sacrifice (see Romans 12:1).  Another parallel is the Old Testament dedication of Samuel (1 Sam 1:24-27) to the Temple as a priest.

Christ now arrives as the long-awaited priest and redeemer. He is also the sacrifice. Indeed, as his life will show, He is the Temple itself (see John 2:19-21).


40 posted on 02/02/2014 6:48:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: Patience, Patience.

 



 

(Rembrandt)

 

"Now, Master, you may let your servant go . . ."

 

Sunday Readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/020214.cfm

 

More than any other prayer, more than any desire, how often have most of us prayed for patience?  Parents are often struck by that need in raising their children. How typical is it these days to recognize how impatient we can be driving in congested traffic, or waiting in line at the movie theatre, grocery store, even a buffet line at a restaurant.  “Let’s move it along.” “What’s taking you so long?”

 

If you’re standing behind someone, we find the person in front of you may apologize, or not, for taking “such a long time” in making a decision. What’s it been – 30 seconds?  “Slow down,” “take a deep breath,” “count to ten,” “say three Hail Mary’s,” are things we may do to calm our restless heart.  I’ve often said it’s the one prayer that is consistently answered by God.  As we wait for his answer, we learn to be more patient.

 

This Sunday on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord we are taken back to a familiar Christmas scene, 40 days after that beloved feast.  According to Jewish law, Jesus is presented in the Temple, as all first born sons would be, and Mary is purified according to that same law.  As both she and Joseph are among the poor, only two small birds are purchased as an offering by them.  

 

However, a dramatic moment takes place within this seemingly normal Temple duty.  Luke relates: “Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.  This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel . . . 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.” How patient are we with the Lord?  Simeon waited all his life for this unique moment. Don’t we often become restless and perhaps even give up when our prayers are not “answered” in our time?

 

Further, Luke presents this scene which may have been at first a bit frightening to Mary.  Luke simply states, “. . . a man in Jerusalem.” Then he seems to just swoop in and, “. . . took him (the infant Jesus) into his arms and blessed God saying: Now Master you may let your servant go in peace . . . for my eyes have seen your salvation . . .” Who was Simeon? Did he have any connection with Temple worship or was he just a stranger who happened to be nearby? Nonetheless, both Mary and Joseph were “amazed at what was said about him . . .” For Mary and Joseph it was apparently a gradual unfolding, not an instant answer, to who this mysterious child was. They too were called to patiently wait on the Lord’s time.

 

Simeon, it strikes me, could be a representation of any of us who are doing our best to live a “righteous and devout” life or certainly are making an effort to be serious about our spiritual life but find ourselves impatient when it comes to prayer.  Either we give up when our prayer is not answered according to our time schedule or at a minimum we become distracted by the stuff of life and are inconsistent in our prayer: on again, then off again. While prayer is not always asking for things we may for some reason think that we should be on the mountain when praying rather than in the flat valley with God.  

 

All of his life Simeon was patiently waiting for the Lord’s fulfillment of the prophecies of the Messiah and now he says to God – “I can die in peace.” How many of us could wait patiently on God for a lifetime of hope? Think of St. Monica and her patient years of prayer waiting on the hope that her son Augustine would turn from his pagan, hedonistic lifestyle to a life of Christian moral virtue.  Her life of prayer, like Simeon, was fulfilled at the end and she too could leave this world satisfied and grateful.

 

Luke then adds another figure of patience, an elderly woman of prayer and fasting who was also patiently waiting on the Lord: a prophetess, Anna.  Like Simeon she is an obscure figure who appears on the scene and she too rejoices in the birth of this child.  She too was patiently waiting for this unique moment.  

 

God comes to us more often in the ordinary and the unexpected than he does in thunder and lightning but are we patient enough, are we humble enough, are we persistent enough to wait patiently for his response?  

 

Our faithfulness and our patience, our trust in God’s promise and faithfulness is a lifetime of practice.  Don’t give up but trust and have hope.  Let the Simeon and Anna in you be a guide for the spiritual life.  In the silence of the Eucharist we approach with hands and hearts of trust that God is always good on his word.

Almighty ever-living God,

We humbly implore your majesty

that, just as your Only Begotten Son

was presented on this day in the Temple

in the substance of our flesh,

so, by your grace,

we may be presented to you with minds made pure.

(Collect for Feast)


41 posted on 02/02/2014 7:08:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Vultus Christi

The Human Face of Divine Mercy

Sunday, 02 February 2014 07:00

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Look closely at this painting (1488) by Bartolomeo di Giovanni; it was commissioned for the Hospital of the Innocents in Florence. The six-sided altar at the centre of the composition points to the Sixth Day Sacrifice of the Cross. There is fire burning on the altar, a sign of the Holy Ghost. The Blessed Virgin Mary’s gesture indicates that she is offering the Infant Christ and participating in His sacrifice. Simeon’s gesture is one of acceptance; he is an image of the Eternal Father. Saint Joseph holds the turtle doves in his cloak; Joseph was chosen by God to veil the mystery. Anna, entering the painting at the extreme left, holds the lighted candle of her faith and hope as she witnesses the arrival in the temple of the long-awaited Priest and Victim, the Consolation of Israel.

The Face of a Little Child

In today’s splendid Introit the Church sings that we have received Mercy “in the midst of the temple” (Ps 47:10). At the heart of today’s mystery shines the face of a little Child, the human face of Divine Mercy. The four other figures in today’s Gospel — Mary, Joseph, Simeon and Anna — are held in His gaze. In a homily for January 1, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI spoke tenderly of the Face of the Infant Christ. “God’s Face took on a human face, letting itself be seen and recognized in the Son of the Virgin Mary, who for this reason we venerate with the loftiest title of Mother of God. She, who had preserved in her heart the secret of the divine motherhood, was the first to see the face of God made man in the small fruit of her womb.”

Today we meet the gaze of the Infant Christ, “made like His brethren in every respect” (Heb 2:17) and, looking into His eyes, we see that He is already our “merciful and faithful High Priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people” (Heb 2:17).

The Presentation of Christ Our Priest

Today in the midst of the temple the Father presents His Christ, our Priest, to us; and today the Father presents us to Christ our Priest. Of ourselves we have nothing to present; we can but receive Christ and allow ourselves to become an offering in His hands. “We have received your Mercy, O God, in the midst of your temple” (Ps 47:10).
The Infant Christ, presented to us as our Priest, presents us, in turn, to the Father. It is fitting that the symbol of the Infant Christ should be the living flame that crowns our candles. This Child has a Heart of fire, and so the prophet says, “But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire . . . and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord” (Mal 3:2-3).

The Infant Priest and Victim

Today is the World Day for Consecrated Life. Consider the images that the liturgy sets before us: a flame that burns, consuming the wax that holds it aloft; a Child with the all-embracing gaze of the “Ancient of Days” (Dn 7:13); an Infant who is already Priest and Victim.

Identification with Christ the Victim

One consecrated in the monastic life is a taper offered to the consuming flame of love. One so consecrated has eyes only for the gaze of Christ, revealing a Heart that is all fire. One consecrated is presented and handed over to Christ the Priest. One consecrated is inescapably destined for the altar of sacrifice, for identification with Christ the Victim. Monastic life cannot be anything less than this, nor can it be anything more. This is why the Apostle says, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom 12:1).

The Woman Wrapped in Silence

Each of the four figures surrounding the Infant Christ in the temple is an icon of consecrated life, beginning with his all-holy Virgin Mother. How does today’s Gospel present her? She is a woman wrapped in silence. Even when addressed by Simeon, she remains silent. Her silence is an intensity of listening. She is silent so as to take in Simeon’s song of praise, silent so as to capture his mysterious prophecy of soul-piercing sorrow and hold it in her Immaculate Heart. She is silent because today her eyes say everything, eyes fixed on the face of the Infant Christ, eyes illumined by the brightness of his gaze.

Wordlessly, Mary offers herself to the living flame of love. She is the bride of the Canticle of whom it is said, “Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold you are beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil” (Ct 4:1). Consecrated life in all its forms, and monastic life in particular, begins in the silence of Mary that, already in the temple, consents to the sacrifice of her Lamb and to the place that will be hers beside the altar of the Cross.

Joseph and the Divine Desires

Turning to Saint Joseph, what do we see? Joseph shares Mary’s silence. Silence is the expression of their communion in a tender and chaste love, a love that is ready for sacrifice. Joseph listens with Mary. Saint Joseph is the first to enter deeply into the silence of the Virgin. It is his way of loving her. It is his way of trusting her beyond words.

Saint Joseph: Tenderly Focused on the Face of Christ

The silence of Saint Joseph becomes for all consecrated persons a way of loving, a way of trusting, a way of pushing back the frontiers of hope. I recall what Pope Benedict XVI said concerning the silence of Saint Joseph. “The silence of Saint Joseph,” said the Holy Father, “is an attitude of total availability to the divine desires. . . . He stands beside the Church today, silent, listening, tenderly focused on the face of Christ in all his members.” Consecrated life is just that: availability to the desires of God, a listening silence, and a way of focusing tenderly on the face of Christ in all his members.

The Old Priest Sings

Saint Simeon represents the ancient priesthood disappearing into the light of Christ, our “merciful and faithful high priest before God” (Heb 2:17). Simeon is the old priest pointing to the new. He speaks; he sings his praise; he utters prophecy. Saint Simeon models the vocation of every priest charged in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the calling down of the Holy Ghost over altar, bread, wine, and people. Simeon has a particular relationship with the Holy Ghost. Three times in as many verses Saint Luke emphasizes the mystical synergy of Simeon and the Holy Ghost: “The Holy Ghost was upon him. . . ” (Lk 2:25); “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Ghost. . . . ; (Lk 2:26); “He came in the Spirit into the temple”; (Lk 2:27). In the Holy Ghost, Simeon contemplates the face of the Infant Christ; in the Holy Spirit he raises his voice in prophecy and in thanksgiving. In all of this Simeon shows us the characteristic traits of the new priesthood called to serve in the Holy Ghost.

Anna of the Face of God

Finally, there is Anna the prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel whose name means “Face of God.” The widow Anna has made the temple her home. Abiding day and night in adoration, she emerges from the recesses of the temple only to give thanks to God and speak of the Child. Drawn into the light of the face of Christ she cannot but praise and immediately publish the good news “to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk 2:38).
Anna of the Face of God models the vocation of every consecrated woman called to be at once fully contemplative and fully apostolic. The old woman’s encounter with the Infant Christ energizes and rejuvenates her. In some way, Anna is the first apostle sent out by the Holy Ghost. Before Mary Magdalene and before the twelve, Anna announces Christ. She is compelled to speak but does so out of an “adoring silence.” She appears in the temple to publish the long-awaited arrival of Mercy, and in her eyes shines the light of his Face. Mercy in the flesh was passed like a living flame from the arms of Mary and Joseph into the arms of Simeon and, then, undoubtedly into the embrace of holy Anna. “We have received your Mercy, O God, in the midst of your temple” (Ps 47:10).

The Consuming Fire of the Most Holy Eucharist

We, who welcome Mercy in the midst of the temple, are compelled to present ourselves to Mercy at the altar, to give ourselves back to Mercy, to give ourselves up to Mercy, to surrender to Mercy’s sweet, purifying flame. “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:28-29).


42 posted on 02/02/2014 8:07:14 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Vultus Christi

Faciem tuam, Domine, requiram

Sunday, 02 February 2014 07:05

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In 2011, my dear friend Richard Chonak performed a spiritual work of mercy for the readers of Vultus Christi by translating this magnificent text of Pope Benedict XVI.  Here, again, is Mr. Chonak’s lovely translation. I added the subtitles in boldface that may help those who want to pray their way through it. To illustrate the text, I chose Blessed Fra Angelico’s painting of the Presentation because of its extraordinary luminosity.

Homily of Pope Benedict XVI
Vatican Basilica
Tuesday, February 2, 2011

The meeting of the two Testaments

Dear brothers and sisters! In today’s Feast we contemplate the Lord Jesus, whom Mary and Joseph present at the temple “to offer him to the Lord” (Lk 2:22). In this gospel scene the mystery of the Virgin’s Son, consecrated by the Father, having come into the world to faithfully accomplish His will (cf. Heb. 10:5-7), is revealed. Simeon points him out as a “light to enlighten the nations” (Lk 2:32) and announces with a prophetic word his supreme offering to God and his final victory (cf. Lk 2:32-35). It is the meeting of the two Testaments, Old and New. Jesus enters into the old Temple, He who is the new Temple of God: he comes to visit his people, bringing obedience to the Law to fulfillment and inaugurating the last days of salvation.


The light that comes to enlighten the world

It is interesting to observe closely this entrance of the Child Jesus into the solemnity of the temple, into a great hustle and bustle of so many people occupied by their duties: the priests and Levites with their turns at service, the many faithful and pilgrims desiring to meet the holy God of Israel. But none of them realizes a thing. Jesus is a child like every other, the first-born son of two very simple parents. Even the priests prove unable of grasping the signs of the new and particular presence of the Messiah and Savior. Only two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, discover the great news. Led by the Holy Spirit, they find in this child the fulfillment of their long waiting and watching. Both contemplate the light of God, who comes to enlighten the world, and their prophetic gaze opens into the future, as an announcement of the Messiah: Lumen ad revelationem gentium! (Lk 2:32). In the prophetic attitude of the two venerable elders, the entire Old Covenant expresses the joy of meeting the Redeemer. In the face of the Child, Simeon and Anna grasp intuitively that He is the long-awaited One.

An eloquent icon of consecrated life

The Presentation of Jesus in the temple constitutes an eloquent icon of the total self-giving of life by which so many men and women are called to reproduce “the characteristic traits of Jesus chaste, poor, and obedient” in the Church and in the world, by means of the evangelical counsels. (Post-synodal exhortation Vita consecrata,1). Because of this, today’s Feast was chosen by the Venerable John Paul II to celebrate the annual Day of Consecrated Life. . . . I would like to present three brief thoughts in reflection on this Feast.

The light of divine beauty shines on the face of Christ

First: the gospel icon of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple contains the fundamental symbol of light: the light that, coming from Christ, shines upon Mary and Joseph, upon Simeon and Anna, and through them, upon all. The Fathers of the Church connected this radiance with the spiritual path. Consecrated life expresses that path in a particular way as “philokalia”, love for divine beauty, a reflection of the goodness of God (cf. ibid., 19). On the face of Christ shines the light of that beauty. “The Church contemplates the transfigured face of Christ, in order to be strengthened in faith, and in order not to risk being confused before his face disfigured on the Cross … she is the Bride before her Bridegroom, sharer in his mystery, wrapped in his light, [by which] all her children are united. But those called to consecrated life have a singular experience of the light that proceeds from the Word incarnate. The profession of the evangelical counsels, truly, places them as a sign and prophecy for the community of the brethren and for the world.” (ibid., 15)

True prophecy is born in friendship with God

In the second place, the gospel icon shows us prophecy, gift of the Holy Spirit. Simeon and Anna, contemplating the Child Jesus, speak of his destiny of death and resurrection for the salvation of all the nations and announce this mystery as universal salvation. Consecrated life is called to a like prophetic testimony, tied to its two attitudes, contemplative and active. To consecrated persons, truly, is given to show forth the primacy of God, passion for the Gospel practiced as a way of life and proclaimed to the poor, and to the ends of the earth. “By virtue of this primacy nothing can be set before personal love for Christ and for the poor in whom He lives. True prophecy is born of God, from friendship with Him, from the attentive hearing of his Word in the various circumstances of history.” (ibid., 84) In this way consecrated life, in its daily experience on the roads of mankind, shows forth the Gospel and the Kingdom already present and active.

Seeking the face of the Lord: true wisdom

In the third place, the gospel icon of the Presentation of the Lord in the temple shows the wisdom of Simeon and Anna, the wisdom of a life dedicated totally to seeking the face of God, his signs, his will; a life dedicated to the hearing and proclaiming of his Word. Faciem tuam, Domine, requiram: your face, O Lord, I seek (Ps 26:8)…. Consecrated life is in the world and in the Church a visible sign of this seeking for the face of the Lord and of the ways that lead to Him (cf. Jn 14:8)…. The consecrated person therefore bears witness to the commitment, joyful and at the same time laborious, to the assiduous and wise search for the divine will.” (cf. Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Instruction “The service of authority and obedience”, Faciem tuam Domine requiram [2008], 1)

Hearers and searchers of the Word

Dear brothers and sisters, be assiduous hearers of the Word, because all wisdom in life is born of the Word of the Lord! Be searchers of the Word, by means of lectio divina, so that consecrated life “is born from hearing the Word of God and taking the Gospel as its norm of life. To live as a follower of Christ chaste, poor, and obedient is, in a way, a living «exegesis» of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit, through whose power the Bible was written, is the same one who illuminates the Word of God with new light for the founders and foundresses. Every charism springs from it, and every rule seeks to be an expression of it”
(Exhortation Verbum Domini, 83).

A luminous testimony to the splendor of truth

We live today, above all in the more developed societies, a situation often marked by a radical pluralism, by a progressive marginalization of religion from the public sphere, by a relativism that touches on fundamental values. This demands that our Christian testimony be luminous and coherent and that our educational effort be every more attentive and generous. May your apostolic activity, in particular, dear brothers and sisters, become a commitment of life that reaches, with persevering passion, to wisdom as truth and as beauty, “the splendor of truth”. With the wisdom of your life, and with trust in the inexhaustible possibilities of true education, may you know how to orient the understanding and the heart of men and women of our time toward the “good life of the Gospel”.

Entrustment to Our Lady

In this moment, my thought goes with special affection to all consecrated men and women, in every part of the world, and I entrust them to the Blessed Virgin Mary:

O Mary, Mother of the Church,
I entrust to you all of consecrated life,
so that you may obtain for it the fullness of divine light:
may it live in the hearing of the Word of God,
in the humility of following Jesus your Son and our Lord,
in welcoming the visitation of the Holy Spirit,
in the daily joy of the Magnificat,
so that the Church may be built up in holiness of life
by these your sons and daughters,
in the commandment of love. Amen.


43 posted on 02/02/2014 8:13:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

No ground for boasting in the presence of God

Sunday, 02 February 2014 12:55

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The Preferred Offering

When the holy Mother of God and Saint Joseph go to the temple for her purification and to present the Child Jesus, in accordance with the Law, they bring with them the humble offering of the poor: a pair of turtle doves. Other devout Jews, having the means to do it, would bring the preferred offering: “a lamb fit to be offered” (Leviticus 12:8). This ritual action fulfills what the Lord said to Moses: “Dedicate to me every first-born thing that Israel yields, whether it be man or beast, the first-fruits of every womb; all these are forfeit to me” (Exodus 13:1).

Those Who Wait Upon God

Saint Luke, by making explicit mention of the turtle doves, would have us understand that the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph were humble folk of modest condition. Their offering of turtle doves identifies them with the long–suffering, pious, faithful poor of Israel: the so–called anawim. The Hebrew word anawim means “those who are bowed down.” It refers to the little people oppressed by the rich and powerful, those whose only recourse is God, those who wait upon God to do for for them what they cannot do for themselves and of themselves.

God Has Chosen What Is Nothing

If Our Lady and Saint Joseph were depicted as rich, powerful, and influential, who among us would be able to relate to them? Think of what Saint Paul writes to the Corinthians:

Consider, brethren, the circumstances of your own calling; not many of you are wise, in the world’s fashion, not many powerful, not many well born. No, God has chosen what the world holds foolish, so as to abash the wise, God has chosen what the world holds weak, so as to abash the strong. God has chosen what the world holds base and contemptible, nay, has chosen what is nothing, so as to bring to nothing what is now in being; no human creature was to have any ground for boasting, in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:26–28)

His Grace Enough for Us

We are, all of us, poor, powerless, foolish and of no consequence in the eyes of the world. We are, all of us, incapable of saving ourselves or of changing anything within us or around us.  We are, in a word, utterly dependent upon God alone. Thus does Our Lord Jesus Christ say to each of us, as he said to his Apostle, “My grace is enough for thee; my strength finds its full scope in thy weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). And each of us, with the Apostle, can conclude: “More than ever, then, I delight to boast of the weaknesses that humiliate me, so that the strength of Christ may enshrine itself in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Fragile and Precarious

I am thinking today of the poverty of our means here in this little monastery — the least of all the monasteries of Ireland — and of the poverty of our surroundings. We do have, it is true, a roof (that sometimes leaks) over our heads, and walls to protect us (at least most of the time) from the cold wind and driving rain. We do have, it is true, the occasional puff of heat from the radiator, clothes to keep us warm, and socks and shoes for our feet. Everything about this monastery is, nonetheless, fragile, and precarious, and in need of restoration, including the men who live here.

Waiting

It takes very little to throw everything here out of balance. There is no real security. There are no resources put aside for emergencies. There is nothing to create the illusion of being in control, of having enough, of living apart from the struggles of humble folk everywhere. Of late, even the generous alms of a few good benefactors have been held up somewhere in the strangling bureaucracy of the banking system, and so we find ourselves, day after day, waiting and waiting for the gifts that, for the love and glory of God, are destined for our support.

Abandonment to Divine Providence

The reality of our humble condition can move us to one of two responses.  Either we can become discouraged and fearful, or we can trust in the care of God and, therefore, be at peace. God does not want us to live in constant discouragement and fear.  All of Sacred Scripture attests to His loving care for those who depend on Him alone, and invites us to abandonment to His Providence.

I say to you, then, do not fret over your life, how to support it with food and drink; over your body, how to keep it clothed. Is not life itself a greater gift than food, the body than clothing? See how the birds of the air never sow, or reap, or gather grain into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them; have you not an excellence beyond theirs? Can any one of you, for all his anxiety, add a cubit’s growth to his height? And why should you be anxious over clothing? See how the wild lilies grow; they do not toil or spin; and yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God, then, so clothes the grasses of the field, which to-day live and will feed the oven to-morrow, will he not be much more ready to clothe you, men of little faith? Do not fret, then, asking, What are we to eat? or What are we to drink? or How shall we find clothing? It is for the heathen to busy themselves over such things; you have a Father in heaven who knows that you need them all. Make it your first care to find the kingdom of God, and his approval, and all these things shall be yours without the asking. Do not fret, then, over to-morrow; leave to-morrow to fret over its own needs; for to-day, to-day’s troubles are enough. (Matthew 6:25–34)

This, then, is the first part of the message of the pair of turtle doves mentioned in the Gospel:

Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are the patient; they shall inherit the land. Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill. (Matthew 5:3–6)

The Lamb Fit to Be Offered

The second part of the message is not as easily grasped as the first.  It lies in the apparent absence of the “lamb fit to be offered” (Leviticus 12:8). It would not at all have been seemly for Our Blessed Lady and Saint Joseph to make the offering of a spotless lamb when, in reality, the Lamb to be offered was the Child held in His Mother’s arms, and even given to the aged Simeon, to comfort him at the end of his life and to reward his perseverance in hope. There is but one Lamb. Saint Luke cannot conceive of putting two lambs into his verbal icon, his mystic depiction of this event.  When the fulfillment of past images arrives, and when the reality of what was merely signified in the prescriptions of the Law appears, what is old gives way to what is eternally new.

Today celebrates the fulfillment of those mysterious words of Abraham to his dear son Isaac as they made their way together to the summit of Mount Moriah: “Isaac said to him, Father. What is it, my son? he asked. Why, said he, we have the fire here and the wood; where is the lamb we need for a victim? My son, said Abraham, God will see to it that there is a lamb to be sacrificed.” (Genesis 22:7–8)

The Appearance of the Lamb

One who fails to see in today’s glorious liturgy the long–awaited appearance of the Victim, the Lamb fit to be offered in sacrifice, is still blind to the “the light which shall give revelation to the Gentiles, the glory of God’s people Israel” (Luke 2:32). It is only in the radiance of the Most Holy Eucharist that all becomes clear; it is only in the splendour surrounding the altar that all of us, poor blind folk, are, at last, given eyes to see.

See, then, and recognize the arrival of the Lamb in the temple.  Confess the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross renewed and made present upon the altars of the Church from the rising of the sun until its setting.  Partake of the adorable mysteries of the Flesh and Blood of the immolated Lamb. Becomes one victim with Him.

Nothingness Makes us Fit for the Sacrifice

At the incandescent heart of today’s feast, there is the Lamb, the very Lamb who appeared at Knock with the Mother of God and with Saint Joseph — just as He appears in the Gospel today. Behold the Lamb of God, “the pure victim, the holy victim, the spotless victim” as the Roman Canon names Him. He would unite us to Himself. No longer are we mere contributors bearing gifts to the temple to be immolated upon its altar; Christ Jesus, the Child of Mary, the Eternal High Priest has taken us to Himself, and made us with Him victims fit for immolation. No poverty, no insecurity, no lack of means can keep us from entering into the heart of the mystery. On the contrary, it is nothingness that makes us fit for the sacrifice. “God,” says Saint Paul, “has chosen what is nothing” (1 Corinthians 1:28).  The less we have, the more we have to offer; and the less we are, the more do we become victims of adoration “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).


44 posted on 02/02/2014 8:18:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Ewgnum Christi

Speaking from the Heart of Christ
| SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

 

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 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 Messiah 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 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 favor of God was upon him.

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I open my heart to receive the power of your Spirit flowing from your heart into mine. I wish to carry it zealously as a light from my heart to my family, to my friends, to the weak and empty of heart. With the fire of your love in me, I want to acknowledge you as true light and as the glory and splendor of every human person. I long to be filled with a consuming love for you.

Petition: Lord, help me to penetrate the meaning of my baptism by contemplating your consecration in the Temple and on the cross.

1. Glory of the Father, Light of the Nations: Contemplate this scene from God’s perspective. The Son, now in human history, enters the Temple for the first time. The Son enters the house of the Father. He, the perfect Lamb for whom no earthly sanctuary is holy enough, accepts to be consecrated in this place built by men, this place that was dedicated to the memory of the signs that were all in expectation of him. The True Lamb arrives at last to the place of offering. The Temple was above all a place of sacrifice in order to gain God’s favor. It was a place of expiation to free oneself of the inheritance of sin, and a place of prayer to offer fitting honor and praise to the one true God. And here, on this day, in the arms of Mary, comes the only sacrifice that counts, for without him no other sacrifice has meaning, whether in sacred rituals or in our personal lives.

2. “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord”: Contemplate this scene through the heart of Mary. In the simple rite of consecration; the Son is going to recognize his belonging to the Father, but he will do it through Mary’s fidelity to the prescribed ritual. Yet, who can speak for this child?  Can anyone speak for the zeal of his heart, the hunger of his heart to suffer for souls? Mary’s pure and humble heart emerges as his spokesperson, and it speaks the language of self-giving and donation, though under the rituals prescribed by the law. “For their sake I consecrate myself.” She reflects to the world what has been communicated to her by her Son, who is flesh of her flesh. In our ordinary life we elevate the meaning of small events in union with Christ. Flesh of our flesh by grace, he enables us to live a consecration to a mission in his name. Our acts are made from the power of Christ’s living presence moving our heart and will.

3. “A sword shall pierce your heart”: Now contemplate the true temple of Christ’s body on the Cross, where every consecration is made perfect. Yes, Christ gives us the privilege to speak the words that echo from his heart. Over time he perfects this language in us, if we are faithful to the cross in our life.

My own baptismal consecration is all about speaking from what is in the heart of Christ, so that his words ‘pierce my own heart’ and replace that heart of stone with a new heart. I seek to speak like Christ––chaste, poor, and obedient––with a language forged and pounded into full authenticity at the Cross. My death to sin and egoism will call forth the risen life of the new man of the Kingdom––possible only through the fire of the Spirit that flows from the open side of Christ.

Conversation with Christ: O Jesus, make my soul a temple worthy of your entry. May the walls of my heart be adorned with purity, honesty and upright intention in all I say and do. May its floors, upon which you walk, be sealed with modesty and sincerity, and lead you to an undivided heart.

Resolution: Today I will renew my personal consecration to the Heart of Christ in a visit to the Eucharist, and I will remember in a special way all consecrated persons throughout the world who renew their vows today.


45 posted on 02/02/2014 8:21:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Scripture Speaks: Presentation of the Lord

by Gayle Somers on January 31, 2014 ·

When Joseph and Mary took the infant Jesus to the Temple to fulfill Jewish law, they also fulfilled a treasured a Messianic prophecy.  How?

Gospel (Read Lk 2:22-40)

About a month after Jesus was born, His parents took Him to the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the law of Moses concerning firstborns (see Ex 13:1-3).  What was that law?  During the time of Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt, God gave to His people, through Moses, an ordinance requiring that every firstborn child born to Hebrew parents must be “dedicated” to the Lord.  This requirement would constantly remind the Israelites of how all their firstborn children were spared from death by the blood of the Passover lambs on their doorposts.  They owed their existence as a nation to God’s supernatural protection of them.  The firstborn could be dedicated to God to serve as a priest or could be bought back with a modest redemption offering.

When Joseph and Mary arrived at the Temple, they were “amazed” at what greeted them there.  Simeon and Anna, a man and a woman who represented all the “righteous and devout” people of Israel were there actively, faithfully “awaiting the consolation of Israel.”  They recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of all their Messianic hope.  The Holy Spirit revealed to both of them that this ordinary-looking infant was anything but ordinary.  Simeon swept Jesus into his arms and spoke directly to God:  “Now, Master, You may let Your servant go in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation.”  God had promised this faithful man “that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.”  With the prompting of the Spirit, Simeon knew God had kept His promise in this Child.  He went on to prophetically describe the Child’s future.  Jesus would be both “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for [God’s] people, Israel.”

Then, speaking directly to Mary, Simeon describes a shadow that would accompany this Child’s life:  “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted.”  The Child’s mission would stir up trouble and call for decisions that would create division and opposition.  What mother wants to hear that?  There was more, of course:  “You yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  How difficult this must have been for a new mother, in her first public maternal action, to learn!  Suffering for both her Son and herself lay ahead.  In fact, Simeon was bringing together many Messianic prophecies in this amazing benediction over Jesus and His mother.  God’s long-promised salvation for the whole world was right here, lying as an infant in his arms, and Simeon says He will grow up to become the Suffering Servant of Isaiah’s majestic prophecies in the Old Testament. God had said even at the dawn of time in Eden, after the Fall, that a “woman” and her “seed” would take up the definitive battle against His primordial enemy, the devil (see Gn 3:15).  Simeon knew, in fulfillment of all that God had earlier revealed, that great pain and great glory lay ahead.

The prophetess, Anna, whom St. Luke identifies as “of the tribe of Asher,” is also prompted by the Spirit, after a faithful life of prayer and fasting, to recognize the Child as the One for whom “all who were waiting the redemption of Jerusalem” sought.  The tribe of Asher had been one of the ten northern tribes that were “lost” when the Assyrians conquered them in God’s just judgment against their covenant unfaithfulness.  She represents God’s intention to recover all that was lost to Him through sin.  Both Simeon and Anna saw in a tiny, newborn baby the hope of the whole world.

It is fitting that these prophetic announcements about Jesus were made in the Temple.  This was the place intended by God for the most intimate contact between Himself and His people.  It was the holiest place on earth, because it was where God visited His people on the Day of Atonement every year, in the liturgical work of the high priest.  Long before His earthly life unfolded, Jesus’ work as both priest and victim were foreshadowed in this Temple visit.  Jesus would return to the Temple, of course, at the beginning of His manhood and during the course of His public ministry.  Eventually, He would prophesy its utter destruction.  Why would that happen?  He was born to become the New and living Temple where, for all eternity, God and man would meet.

So many signs, so many wonders were present in this simple action by devout parents to obey God’s law for family life.  This gives us much to ponder, doesn’t it?

Possible response:  St. Joseph and St. Mary, please pray for parents today to be faithful in raising their children according to God’s Word.

First Reading (Read Mal 3:1-4)

Here is a dramatic prophecy from the very last of the Old Testament prophetic books.  When we read it, we can perhaps understand why devout Jews in Jesus’ day, like Simeon and Anna in our Gospel, spent so much time in the Jerusalem Temple.  God says, through His prophet, “Lo, I am sending My Messenger to prepare the way before Me; and suddenly there will come to the Temple the Lord whom you desire.”  This amazing prophecy goes on to say that when God’s “Messenger” appears, His work of “refining” and “purifying” God’s people means that “the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord, as in the days of old, as in years gone by.”  Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for sin, a sacrifice pleasing to God, because He offered Himself sinless, with a pure heart, out of love for sinners.

No wonder Simeon and Anna were waiting and hoping to see this “Messenger” with their own eyes.

Possible response:  Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to refine and purify Your people.  May the gratitude and joy of Simeon and Anna for this gift be ours today, too.

Psalm (Read Ps 24:7-10)

This psalm is traditionally ascribed to King David, written to celebrate the entrance of Israel’s recovered Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.  At that time, the Ark contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, written by God’s own finger.  (By Jesus’ day, the Ark of the Covenant had been lost.)  King David recognized the presence of the true King of Israel in those tablets and the Ark itself.  Even though the Temple did not exist at this time (it was built later by David’s son, Solomon), the liturgy of the Day of Atonement, which included the sacrifice of one animal and the exile of the “scapegoat” to atone for the sins of the people, was celebrated in the presence of this Ark.  Its “mercy seat” served as the altar upon which the animal’s blood was placed.  So, as the Ark entered Jerusalem, David wanted to sing at the city gates, “Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may come in!”  Today, because we know that Jesus is the New Temple, the Word of God in flesh and blood, not stone tablets, we can sing, “Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!”  Interestingly, on the day of Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple, not only did the New Temple visit His people but the New Ark of the Covenant, the one who carried God’s living Word in her womb, did, too.

Possible response:  The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings.  Read it again carefully to make it your own.

Second Reading (Read Heb 2:14-18)

Our epistle reading touches on so many themes we have already seen in our others readings.  Jesus, God’s flesh and blood “Messenger,” came to destroy the devil, who held all mankind in bondage to the fear of death.  This reminds us of Simeon’s prophecy of future suffering in store for the Child in his arms.  The “woman” and her “seed” were destined to do battle against God’s enemy.  Jesus took on our human nature and lived a human life like ours, made present in our Gospel when His parents, in simple human obedience to their religion, took Him to the Temple.  Jesus came to be the expiation of our sins, so that in Him we can now offer God a pure and pleasing sacrifice.  Lastly, Jesus is “able to help those who are being tested.”  He is not a Savior remote from us but One Who loves us, hears us, helps us.  This is why He is a “light” to the Gentiles and “the glory” of His people, Israel.

The baby of the Presentation grew up to be the King of all creation.  “Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!”

Possible response:  Lord Jesus, Simeon and Anna welcomed Your nearness in Your first Temple visit.  You are always near Your people.  Help us to live in the peace You want to give us.


46 posted on 02/02/2014 8:31:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Two Messengers and Heavenly Bleach in Malachi

by Dr. Mark Giszczak on January 31, 2014 ·

February 2, 2014, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020214.cfm

On this Feast of the Presentation, the Lord comes to his Temple. But this time he comes not in a cloud of glory on the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, but in the meekness and humility of a baby. Mary and Joseph bring the baby Jesus to be circumcised on the eighth day of his little life to fulfill the Old Testament law (Lev 12:3). His coming to the Temple is anticipated by the prophet Malachi in the first reading for today.

Two Messengers

At the beginning of this passage, Malachi announces that the Lord is sending a messenger, “my messenger,” a forerunner who will prepare the way for the coming of the Lord himself (3:1). But immediately after this announcement, he tells us that “the messenger of the covenant” will come, who is identified as the Lord himself. The prophet explains the forerunner messenger more completely in 4:5-6. The forerunner will come as Elijah, to initiate a ministry of reconciliation, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and children to their fathers. After Elijah comes, the day of the Lord will arrive.

Profane vs. Pleasing Sacrifice

To get a full picture of what’s going on in this passage, a little context will help. Early in the prophecy of Malachi, the Lord accuses the priests and Levites (those responsible for the ministry of Temple worship) of profaning the Temple sacrifices, making a mockery of true worship. Instead of offering pure and unblemished animals to the Lord, they have been sacrificing blind and lame animals—a serious insult to the Lord (Malachi 1:8).These acts demonstrates where their hearts are—far from faithfulness to the Lord. The Lord invokes his special covenant with the Levites (2:5) to ground his response to their offensive behavior. The Levites were especially called by God and so ought to have been especially faithful.

In Malachi 3, the Lord is announcing the “day of his coming,” the coming of the Lord to enforce the covenant agreements he has with the Levites. The Lord will come to judge and to purify, to mend his relationship with his priestly family. Repeatedly in the New Testament the concept of worshipping with a pure heart is emphasized. Jesus teaches us to be reconciled with one another before we worship (Matt 5:23-24). He describes how the Lord desires “mercy, not sacrifice” (Matt 9:13). St. Paul tells that real fidelity to the Lord is a matter of the heart, not just a matter of external practices (Rom 2:29). The Lord wants his people to offer pleasing sacrifices from a pure heart, not profane sacrifices coming from a duplicitous heart.

Two Metaphors for Judgment

Malachi describes the judgment of the Lord using two powerful metaphors. The first metaphor focuses on refining people in the way that precious metals are refined, with an especially hot fire. The Lord’s purpose in judgment is not to destroy his people, but to purify them, to make them holy by his judgment. He wants to restore them, not to destroy them. (You can watch the process of refining gold here) The second metaphor also highlights a process of purification: bleaching. The “lye” used for bleaching here is most likely vegetable lye, a caustic alkaline substance derived from certain kinds of plant ash. This chemical would have been used by “fullers” for bleaching fibers for cloth. Fullers weren’t exactly laundrymen. Rather, they were responsible for taking partially processed fibers and preparing them to be made into cloth, by cleansing them from natural oils and dirt, so they could by dyed. As with refining, the metaphor of bleaching focuses on the purifying power of God’s judgment, not its destructive force.

Restoration and Fulfillment

This whole passage points to God’s desire to restore a right relationship with his people. It looks to the “days of old” with fondness, as a time of covenant love and fidelity. The roles of the forerunner and the divine messenger are about reconciliation and restoration, bringing God’s people back to him. This passage looks forward to fulfillment in the New Testament. John the Baptist comes in the spirit and power of Elijah, as the forerunner (Matt 17:10-13). Jesus comes to the Temple as the “messenger of the covenant,” first as a little baby and later as a suffering king. He comes to the Temple to teach, to worship, and to cleanse it from the money-changers. Jesus comes to restore God’s relationship with his people and to bring it to a whole new level.

We can draw several conclusions from this passage in Malachi: God takes his loving relationship with us very seriously and he expects us to do the same. He desires for us to worship him with a pure heart—offering a pleasing sacrifice of praise. He doesn’t want to destroy us when we are unfaithful to him, but to restore us, to purify us, to bring us back. He is a God who keeps his promises to us and he helps us to keep our promises to him. May his refining fire and his heavenly bleach purify us!


47 posted on 02/02/2014 8:33:16 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
One Bread One Body

One Bread, One Body

Language: English | Español

All Issues > Volume 30, Issue 2

<< Sunday, February 2, 2014 >> Presentation of the Lord
 
Malachi 3:1-4
Hebrews 2:14-18

View Readings
Psalm 24:7-10
Luke 2:22-40

Similar Reflections
 

THE LAST DAY OF CHRISTMAS

 
"When the day came to purify them according to the law of Moses, the couple brought Him up to Jerusalem so that He could be presented to the Lord." —Luke 2:22
 

According to Jewish law, forty days after their baby boys were born, parents were obliged to present them to the Lord (Lv 12:3-4). Therefore, we celebrate the Lord's Presentation forty days after Christmas, His birthday. So today's feast day is connected with the number "40" and with Christmas.

The number "40" indicates a period of great change, hopefully ending in fulfillment. For instance, the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years before entering the promised land. Noah's flood lasted forty days. Moses was in God's presence on Mount Sinai for forty days. Nineveh had forty days to repent. Jesus fasted for forty days and ascended forty days after His resurrection. Today, the Lord is offering us the grace of a "40," that is, the grace of transformation and fulfillment.

Did you "have a good Christmas"? Is your life transformed by what the Lord did this past Christmas? If not, you can be transformed by the graces of today. Today may be your last chance for Christmas. Give your life to the Christ of Christmas. Jesus is a Sign of contradiction and your "Downfall" if you reject Him. He is your "Rise" if you accept Him (Lk 2:34). Give your life to Jesus today and have Christmas.

 
Prayer: Father, may this be the best Christmas ever — all that You want it to be.
Promise: "Since He was Himself tested through what He suffered, He is able to help those who are tempted." —Heb 2:18
Praise: Alleluia! Praise Jesus, the Light to the nations and the glory of Israel! (Lk 2:32)

48 posted on 02/02/2014 8:35:40 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

"Love one another as I have loved you."

49 posted on 02/02/2014 8:43:40 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Marriage=One Man and One Woman 'Til Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for February 2, 2014:

“And you yourself a sword will pierce,” the prophet Simeon says to Mary. (Lk 2:35) Are you or your spouse carrying a heavy burden, a painful ache in your heart? Pray to Mary for help in bearing your suffering well. She knows our pain.

50 posted on 02/03/2014 5:14:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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