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Homily for February 2, 2021 – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

  • February 2, 2021

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Malachi 3:1-4, Hebrews 2:14-18, Luke 2:22-40

In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples. In the light of these candles may we meet the Lord and recognize his voice in the Words we hear. May we embrace Him in the Sacrament we receive.

Saint Luke related how Simeon and Anna came to the Temple. They worshiped God with prayer and fasting because they awaited the consolation of Israel. Enlightened by the Spirit, they recognized the Lord when his parents brought him to the Temple in fulfillment of the Law. This image of men and women awaiting the consolation of the People of God is captured in the Constitutions of our Order:

C. 2 The Nature and Purpose of the Order This Order is a monastic institute wholly ordered to contemplation. The monks dedicate themselves to the worship of God in a hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of St Benedict. They lead a monastic way of life in solitude and silence, in assiduous prayer and joyful penitence as defined in these Constitutions, thus rendering to the divine majesty a service that is at once humble and noble.

My brothers, you, and I are here because we have responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Because we fell in love with Jesus, we saw in him the one thing that mattered and left the rest behind. We have committed ourselves to one another, allowing God to build up the Church of Genesee, where God can meet his believing people. Like Simeon, we have been gifted to see the light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel. Enlightened by the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives together are so ordered as to proclaim his presence in our midst. God who is light from light has called us to be a light for others, so that the people who walk in darkness may come to know the LIGHT OF GLORY. Knowing how to see grace is the starting point.

Upon the face of the little child cradled in Simeon’s arms shined the light of the Father’s glory. I suggest you ponder these words taken from the prophet Isaiah. ” I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I’” (Is. 65:1). The Lord of Light stands at the door and knocks. The doors of the heart are to be opened to him, who is the rightful owner. Here is a price paid, enough for all, and suitable to all, for it was in our nature. Here the wonderful love of God appeared, that, when Christ knew what he must suffer in our nature, and how he must die in it, yet he readily took it upon him. Like Simeon, we are called to testify that this Child is the Savior of the world, the salvation of God’s appointing. Today, on the feast day of encounter, we ask for the grace to rediscover the living Lord amid a believing people. In the temple, Jesus comes to meet us, and we go to meet him. He offers us his word, which illuminates our path; he gives us the Bread of life which sustains us on our journey.

“Now Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for All people to see. A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel” (Lk.2:29-32).

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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord 2021

Patience is god’s response to our weakness.

In his homily during Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday, 2 February [2021], Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the 25th World Day of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis offered the example of Simeon’s patience to emphasize the importance of patience in the various settings of our lives and in our relationship with the world. “Patience”, he said, “helps us to be merciful in the way we view ourselves, our communities and our world”. The following is the English text of the Holy Father’s homily.

Simeon, so Saint Luke tells us, “looked forward to the consolation of Israel” ( Lk  2:25).  Going up to the Temple as Mary and Joseph were bringing Jesus there, he took the Messiah into his arms. The one who recognized in that Child the light that came to shine on the Gentiles was an elderly man who had  patiently  awaited the fulfilment of the Lord’s promises.

The patience of Simeon . Let us take a closer look at that old man’s patience. For his entire life, he had been waiting, exercising the patience of the heart. In his prayer, Simeon had learned that God does not come in extraordinary events, but works amid the apparent monotony of our daily life, in the frequently dull rhythm of our activities, in the little things that, working with tenacity and humility, we achieve in our efforts to do his will. By patiently persevering, Simeon did not grow weary with the passage of time. He was now an old man, yet the flame still burned brightly in his heart. In his long life, there had surely been times when he had been hurt, disappointed, yet he did not lose hope. He trusted in the promise, and did not let himself be consumed by regret for times past or by the sense of despondency that can come as we approach the twilight of our lives. His hope and expectation found expression in the daily patience of a man who, despite everything, remained watchful, until at last “his eyes saw the salvation” that had been promised (cf.  Lk  2:30).

I ask myself: where did Simeon learn such patience? It was the born of prayer and the history of his people, which had always seen in the Lord “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and fidelity” ( Ex  34:6). He recognized the Father who, even in the face of rejection and infidelity, never gives up, but remains “patient for many years” (cf.  Neh  9:30), constantly holding out the possibility of conversion.

The patience of Simeon is thus a mirror of  God’s own patience . From prayer and the history of his people, Simeon had learned that God is indeed patient. By that patience, Saint Paul tells us, he “leads us to repentance” ( Rom  2:4). I like to think of Romano Guardini, who once observed that patience is God’s way of responding to our weakness and giving us the time we need to change (cf.  Glaubenserkenntnis , Würzburg, 1949, 28). More than anyone else, the Messiah, Jesus, whom Simeon held in his arms, shows us the patience of God, the merciful Father who keeps calling us, even to our final hour. God, who does not demand perfection but heartfelt enthusiasm, who opens up new possibilities when all seems lost, who wants to open a breach in our hardened hearts, who lets the good seed grow without uprooting the weeds. This is the reason for our hope: that God never tires of waiting for us. When we turn away, he comes looking for us; when we fall, he lifts us to our feet; when we return to him after losing our way, he waits for us with open arms. His love is not weighed in the balance of our human calculations, but unstintingly gives us the courage to start anew. This teaches us resilience, the courage always to start again, each day. Always to start over after our falls. God is patient.

Let us look to  our patience . Let us look to the patience of God and the patience of Simeon as we consider our own lives of consecration. We can ask ourselves what patience really involves. Certainly it is not simply about tolerating difficulties or showing grim determination in the face of hardship. Patience is not a sign of weakness, but the strength of spirit that enables us to “carry the burden”, to endure, to bear the weight of personal and community problems, to accept others as different from ourselves, to persevere in goodness when all seems lost, and to keep advancing even when overcome by fatigue and listlessness.

Let me point to three “settings” in which patience can become concrete.

The first is  our personal life . There was a time when we responded to the Lord’s call, and with enthusiasm and generosity offered our lives to him. Along the way, together with consolations we have had our share of disappointments and frustrations. At times, our hard work fails to achieve the desired results, the seeds we sow seem not to bear sufficient fruit, the ardour of our prayer cools and we are not always immune to spiritual aridity. In our lives as consecrated men and women, it can happen that hope slowly fades as a result of unmet expectations. We have to be patient with ourselves and await in hope God’s own times and places, for he remains ever faithful to his promises. This is the foundation stone: he is true to his promises. Remembering this can help us retrace our steps and revive our dreams, rather than yielding to interior sadness and discouragement. Brothers and sisters, in us consecrated men and women, interior sadness is a worm, a worm that eats us from within. Flee from interior sadness!

A second setting in which patience can become concrete is  community life . We all know that human relationships are not always serene, especially when they involve sharing a project of life or apostolic activity. There are times when conflicts arise and no immediate solution can be expected, nor should hasty judgements be made. Time is required to step back, to preserve peace and to wait for a better time to resolve situations in charity and in truth. Let us not allow ourselves to be flustered by tempests. In the Breviary, for tomorrow’s Office of Readings, there is a fine passage on spiritual discernment by Diodochus of Photice. He says: “A tranquil sea allows the fisherman to gaze right to its depths. No fish can hide there and escape his sight. The stormy sea, however, becomes murky when it is agitated by the winds”. We will never be able to discern well, to see the truth, if our hearts are agitated and impatient. Never. Our communities need this kind of reciprocal patience: the ability to support, that is, to bear on our own shoulders, the life of one of our brothers or sisters, including his or her weaknesses and failings, all of them. Let us keep in mind that the Lord does not call us to be soloists – we know there are many in the Church – no, we are not called to be soloists but to be part of a choir that can sometimes miss a note or two, but must always try to sing in unison.

Finally, a third setting is  our relationship with the world . Simeon and Anna cherished the hope proclaimed by the prophets, even though it is slow to be fulfilled and grows silently amid the infidelities and ruins of our world. They did not complain about how wrong things are, but patiently looked for the light shining in the darkness of history. To look for the light shining in the darkness of history; to look for the light shining in the darkness of our own communities. We too need that kind of patience, so as not to fall into the trap of complaining. Some people are masters of complaining, doctors of complaining, they are very good at complaining! No, complaining imprisons us: “the world no longer listens to us” – how often do we hear that - or “we have no more vocations, so we have to close the house”, or “these are not easy times” – “ah, don’t tell me!...”. And so the duet of complaints begins. It can happen that even as God patiently tills the soil of history and our own hearts, we show ourselves impatient and want to judge everything immediately: now or never, now, now, now. In this way, we lose that “small” but most beautiful of virtues: hope. I have seen many consecrated men and women who lose hope, simply through impatience.

Patience helps us to be merciful in the way we view ourselves, our communities and our world. In our own lives, do we welcome the patience of the Holy Spirit? In our communities, do we bear with one another and radiate the joy of fraternal life? In the world, do we patiently offer our service, or issue harsh judgements? These are real challenges for our consecrated life: we cannot remain stuck in nostalgia for the past or simply keep repeating the same old things or everyday complaints. We need patience and courage in order to keep advancing, exploring new paths, and responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And to do so with humility and simplicity, without great propaganda or publicity.

Let us contemplate God’s patience and implore the trusting patience of Simeon and of Anna. In this way, may our eyes, too, see the light of salvation and bring that light to the whole world, just as these two elderly individuals did in their words of praise.

The Holy Father’s recommendation Less gossip and more humour

Please be seated.

I would like to thank the Cardinal for his words which are the expression of all, of all the concelebrants and of all the assistants. We are few: this Covid puts us in a corner but we bear this with patience. It takes patience. And keep advancing, offering our lives to the Lord.

That young religious woman who had just entered the novitiate was happy… She found a kind, holy, elderly religious woman… “How are you?” — “This is paradise, Mother!”, says the young woman. “Wait a little; there is purgatory”. Consecrated life, community life: there is a purgatory, but it takes patience to carry on.

I would like to point out two things that may help: please flee from gossip. What kills community life is gossip. Do not speak ill  of others. “It is not easy, Father, because sometimes it comes from the heart!”. Yes, it comes from the heart, it comes from envy, it comes from many capital sins that we have within. To flee. “But tell me Father, is there not some medicine? Prayer, kindness…?”  Yes, there is a medicine which is very “homemade”: bite your tongue. Before speaking ill of others, bite your tongue so that it will swell and fill up your mouth and you will be unable to speak badly. Please, flee from gossip which destroys a community!

And then, the other thing that I suggest for community life: there are always many things that do not go well. From the superior, the consultor, the other one… There are always things we do not like, right? Do not lose your sense of humour, please: this helps us so much. It is the anti-gossip: to know how to laugh at oneself, at situations and also at others  with a good heart,  but do not lose your sense of humour. And fleeing from gossip. What I am suggesting now is not very clerical advice, let us say, but it is human: it is human in order to carry on with patience. Never speak ill of others: bite your tongue. And then, do not lose your sense of humour: it will greatly help us.

Thank you for what you do, thank you for your witness. Thank you, many thanks for  your difficulties, for how you bear with them and for the great suffering due to the lack of vocations. Go forth, take courage: the Lord is greater, the Lord loves us. Let us follow the Lord!

L’Osservatore Romano 5 February 2021, page 4 

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

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homily for presentation of the lord 2021

Malachi 3:1–4 /Psalm 24:7,8,9,10/Hebrews 2:14–18/Luke 2:22–40

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple. which occurs forty days after our celebration of the birth of Jesus. The Holy family made a journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem in order to fulfill the law. Again, in today’s liturgy we carry out the practice of blessing candles and processing into the Church, a practice that symbolizes our journey from the circular to the sacred or from our earthly home to  heavenly Jerusalem. In the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (Luke 2:22). The presentation of Jesus in the temple is in fulfillment with the Jewish law. Every male child must be taken to the temple and an animal must be offered as a sacrifice. Some lessons for us:

We must bring our children to Christ: Mark 10:14 says “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for such as these belong the kingdom of God.” Today, apart from the fact that we bring our children forward for baptism how many of us still encourage them to join societies in the Church. How many of our children are active youth members or choristers or legionaries and the likes. This mystery shows that it is important not to neglect the duty of teaching children about God and His laws. Prov.22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Deu. 6:7 says you shall teach them diligently to your children. Beloved in Christ, teach your children diligently.  

Mary and Joseph kept their religious obligation without delay . Therefore, we too must keep our religious obligations. Today, we find it very difficult to keep some religious obligations. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in its Compendium, enumerates the following five:

  • You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labour.
  • You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
  • You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least once during the Easter season.
  • You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
  • You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.

Do we still appreciate these obligations? When we don’t fulfill our obligations in worship we may not receive the grace that the worship brings.

Joseph and Mary were poor . The traditional offering for purification was a lamb and a turtledove if the parents were rich, and two doves or two pigeons if they were poor. They offered two turtle doves as opposed to a small lamb that a wealthier couple would have offered. In obedience to religious obligation everybody has a role to fulfill, the poor and the rich have something to offer. In Mark 12:43 says “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others”. Thank God in most places harvest levies are graded; of course all fingers are not equal. But most times when we are told what to pay we grumble. Your offering is supposed to be an expression of your blessing. Remember we don’t grumble when we receive gifts and blessings. After all the slogan is “nothing is too big and nothing is too small! My dear, “nothing is too big but something is too small”. Ps.4:5 says “offer a just sacrifice and trust in the Lord.” A just sacrifice is the right sacrifice; therefore, let us offer the right sacrifice to the Lord. Today, as we present ourselves to the Lord may we find the enabling grace to use our time and resources well. Amen

Let us Prayer

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.

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Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, Nigeria. He was ordained October 20th, 2018. He offers his daily homilies, talks and articles that bother on, faith, theology, morals and many other burning issues in religion and politics. Fr. Daniel writes poems, inspirational quotes and clips.

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"For my eyes have seen Your salvation." [Lk. 2:30] These are the words that echo the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord that we are celebrating today. The events surrounding this special Feast are found in Chapter 2, verses 22 to 40 of the Gospel of Luke. As some of you may be aware, the Feast of the "Presentation of the Lord" in the Temple, always observed on February the second in the Roman Rite, is also known as "Candlemas Day" and the "Purification of the Blessed Virgin." Some may ask, what does "Candlemas Day" means? During the eleventh century, the liturgical calendar required that the First Reading be the Book of Zephaniah versus today's reading from the Book of Malachi. In the Book of Zephaniah, it states, "At that time, I will search Jerusalem with lamps..." [Zeph. 1:12] In harmony with the words of this biblical verse, the faithful of those days participated in a candle light procession. Nowadays, the Catholic liturgy still permits a procession. Using the rite in the sacramentary, the candles are blessed at the beginning of the Mass. For the procession, the priest wears a chasuble or cope. Now you may wonder why today's Feast is also called, the "Purification of the Blessed Virgin?" In the days of the birth of Jesus, the Jewish custom commanded that a woman who gave birth to a son remain in semi-seclusion for 40 days. Counting from December 25 th as the first day, the fortieth day fell on February 2 nd, which is today's date. The Book of Leviticus tells us, "The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the people of Israel, saying: If a woman conceives and bears a male child, she shall be ceremonially unclean seven (7) days: as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Her time of blood purification shall be thirty-three (33) days; she shall not touch any holy things, or come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed." [Lev. 12:1-4] When the days of her purification are completed, (7 + 33 = 40) whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb in its first year for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. He shall offer it before the Lord, and make atonement on her behalf; then she shall be clean from her flow of blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, male or female. If she cannot afford a sheep, she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement on her behalf, and she shall be clean." [Lev. 12:6-8 and Exo. 13:11-13; 22:29; Numb. 18:15-16; Deut. 15:19] Therefore, the Blessed Virgin Mary's Presentation of the Lord to the Temple was executed in obedience with the precept of the Law. She redeemed her first-born from the Temple and she was purified by the prayer of Simeon the righteous in the presence of the prophetess Anna. [Lk. 2:22-36] While today's readings echo both, the Presentation of the Lord to the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, in its wisdom, the Catholic Church deemed it more praiseworthy to place emphasis on the Feast of the Lord Jesus. As previously stated, today's First Reading was taken from the Book of Malachi. [Mal. 3:1-4] This reading was prophetic in nature. While speaking to the prophet Malachi, God said that He was sending His messenger to prepare His way. And the Lord that the people were seeking would suddenly come to His Temple. [Mal. 31; Mt. 11:10; Mk. 1:2; Lk. 1:76, 7:27] Continuing with the same reading, it states, "But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?" [Mal. 3:2; Joel 2:11; Rev. 6:17] "For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap;" [Mal. 3:2] "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness." [Mal. 3:3; Tit. 3:14] These words echo the words of Jesus Who Himself stated that He would be the cause of division. Jesus said, "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." [Lk. 12:49-53] On the same matter, John the Baptist stated, "I baptise you with water for repentance but One who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire . His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and will gather His wheat into the granary; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire." [Mt. 3:11-2] Jesus "gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people of His own who are zealous for good deeds." [Tit. 3:14] "For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctified those who had been defiled so that their flesh was purified, how much more will the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God." [Heb. 9:13-4] Our sanctification was constantly on the mind of Jesus. It was on His mind during His ministry. And it was on His mind when He prayed after the Last Supper. In His words, while praying to the Father, Jesus said, "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." [Jn. 17:17] "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself so that they also may be sanctified in truth." [Jn. 17:19] Our purification, our sanctification, had its beginning when we received the Sacrament of Baptism. First came baptism by water; then followed our baptism by fire, our sanctification by the power of the Holy Spirit. "For indeed our God is a consuming fire." [Heb. 12:29] Those who believe and submit themselves to the guidance and teachings of the Holy Spirit, they will be saved. Those who reject the grace of God, they will be lost forever. Naturally, having a free will, as Jesus foretold, some family members will welcome the grace of God while others will reject it. Today's Second Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews [Heb. 2:10- 11, 13b-18] teaches us that Jesus had to become like His brothers and sisters in every respect. To bring us to glory, Jesus was made our source of perfect salvation through sufferings. [Heb. 2:10] As we suffer in life, He suffered for our sake. Jesus was rejected by most of His own people. And He was even accused of being possessed by evil spirit. All of this He wholeheartedly endured for us. "The one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters, saying, 'Here am I, and the children whom God has given me.'" [Heb. 2:12-3] As our Saviour, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, Jesus emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. [Heb. 2:14; Phil. 2:6] Through this tremendous act of love, He freed all of us who were held in slavery by the fear of death. [Heb. 2:15] When Jesus came into this world, He did not come to save the angels. He came to save the spiritual children of Abraham, all of us who believe in Him. [Heb. 2:16; Rom. 4:12] For the sins of the people, Jesus made the perfect sacrifice of atonement to God, the self-sacrifice of every spark of life that was within Himself. As a merciful and faithful High Priest in the service of God who has been tested by what He has suffered, He is now able to help us who are being tested. [Heb. 417-8] Today's Gospel Reading [Lk. 2:22-40] is summarized by the words of Simeon. "For my eyes have seen your salvation." [Lk. 2:30] When the time had come for the purification of the Virgin Mary in accordance to the Law, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord God. For it was written, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord." As required by the Law, Mary and Joseph offered the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. [Lk. 2:22-4; Lev. 12:6- 8] At the Temple, they met Simeon, a righteous and devout man who longed for the consolation of Israel. [Lk. 2:25] Filled with the Holy Spirit, it had been revealed to Simeon that he would not die until such time as he had seen the Lord's Messiah. [Lk. 2:26] As we heard earlier, guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the Temple; and when Joseph and Mary brought in the Child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, 'Master, now You are dismissing Your servant in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light for revelation to the Gentiles , and for glory to Your people Israel.'" [Lk. 2:27-32] These words acknowledged the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecies of the prophet Isaiah. "Through You I will make a Covenant with all peoples; through You I will bring Light to the nations." [Is. 42:6, 49:6, 52:10] "Then Simeon blessed the Holy Family, saying to Mary, 'This Child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed - and a sword will pierce your own soul too.'" [Lk. 2:34-5] In other words, Jesus would be the cause of division within families, some accepting Him, others rejecting Him. Also present at the Temple was the prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel. When she saw Jesus, she began to praise God and to speak about the Child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. [Lk. 2:36-8] These events confirm to us that Simeon and Anna, both being filled with the Holy Spirit, were chosen by God to meet Jesus and to affirm that He was the promised Messiah. Now both, having met the Lord of their salvation, could go in peace . Equally, we as members of the Catholic Church that is led by the Spirit of Christ, have also met in our lives the Lord Jesus, our Redeemer. Therefore, when we depart after the celebration of the Holy Mass, it can be said that we too go in peace . * * * * * * * * * * The readings... [The readings were taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (C) 1989 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America.] * * * * * * * * * * First Reading... "Thus says the Lord God: "See, I am sending 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 - indeed, 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 descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years." [Mal. 3:1-4] OR "It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying, 'Here am I, and the children whom God has given me.' Since the children share flesh and blood, Jesus himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that Jesus did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because Jesus himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested." [Heb. 2:10-11, 13b-18] * * * * * * * * * * Gospel Reading... "When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (As it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated 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; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 'Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.' The child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, 'This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed - and a sword will pierce your own soul too.' There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When the parents of Jesus had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him." [Lk. 2:22-40] * * * * * * * * * *

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

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homily for presentation of the lord 2021

Ordinary Time: February 2nd

Feast of the presentation of the lord.

Other Commemorations: St. Catherine de Ricci, Virgin (RM) ; Other Titles: Candlemas

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

MASS READINGS

February 02, 2021 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

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, God, for ever and ever.

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  • Light For The Nations, Glory Of Israel | Pope Saint John Paul II
  • Presentation Prefigures the Cross | Pope Saint John Paul II
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  • Contemplating the Christmas Mysteries: He is Light and Peace
  • Luke’s Gospel: The Radical Challenge of Jesus Christ
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  • The End of Christmas: Dispelling the Misconceptions
  • The Presentation of the Lord: A Light for the Nations

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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.

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

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 recognize its power [the cross] reveals salvation and life’ (c.f PG 77, 1044-1049). —Excerpted from Congregation for the Clergy

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

Reflections for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Introduction:    This feast commemorates how Jesus, as a baby, was presented to God in the Temple in Jerusalem. This presentation finds its complete and perfect fulfillment in the mystery of the passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord. The  Feast of the Presentation of the Lord   is a combined feast ,  commemorating the Jewish practice of the  purification of the mother  after childbirth and the  presentation of the child  to God in the Temple and his buying back ( redemption ) from God. It is also known as the  Feast of the Purification of Mary , and the Feast  of Candlemas.  It is also called the  Feast of Encounter  ( Hypapánte  in Greek) because the New Testament, represented by the baby Jesus, encountered the Old Testament, represented by Simeon and Anna. Joseph offered two pigeons in the Temple as sacrifice for the purification of Mary after her childbirth and for the presentation and redemption ceremonies performed for baby Jesus.

Homily starter anecdote: “Four chaplains Sunday:  Julia Duin in the Washington Times Sunday, February 1, 2009 told this story. Just after midnight on Feb. 3, 1943, an act of extraordinary unselfishness by a group of men became a legend of martyrdom and sacrifice. When the Army ship Dorchester was torpedoed by the Germans just south of Greenland that night, its passengers and crew had 25 minutes to get off the boat. As 902 people went for the life jackets, it quickly was discovered there weren’t near enough. Of the 13 lifeboats, only two functioned. In the ship’s final minutes, Methodist senior chaplain George Lansing Fox, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Dutch Reformed minister Clark V. Poling and John P. Washington, a Roman Catholic priest, were helping passengers leave the vessel. Then four men appeared all of them without life jackets. The chaplains quickly gave up their own vests and went down with the ship, perishing in the freezing water. Survivors saw them, locked arm in arm, praying and singing the Navy hymn, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” just before the ship dove beneath the waves. It was a night as dramatic as the sinking of the Titanic but without a blockbuster movie to record the drama. “The Four Immortal Chaplains,” as they are now known, have been honored many times, including on a stamp issued in their honor by the U.S. Postal Service. Hence the first Sunday in February is known as “Four Chaplains Sunday” in some Christian denominations.  They presented and offered themselves completely for the wellbeing of others as Jesus was presented to God his Heavenly Father in the Temple of Jerusalem for the salvation of the world. ( http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

Scripture lessons summarized:   In the   first reading,  taken from Malachi, the prophet speaks of the Lord suddenly coming to Jerusalem to purify the lax, lazy and indifferent priests of His Temple as silver is purified by fire. Simeon saw the Infant Jesus as the fulfillment of this passage. He saw Jesus as the Lord Who has come to the Temple,  "destined to be the downfall and rise of many in Israel."    In the second reading,  St. Paul   proclaims Jesus as our Eternal High Priest of     the New Covenant (Heb 2:17), Who offered himself on the altar of Calvary, the only pure priestly sacrifice that could please God.    He replaces the former priesthood.  The Gospel  describes how Joseph, as the head of the Holy Family of Nazareth, presented Mary and the baby Jesus in the Temple of God for the mother’s purification and the Child’s “redemption.” It also describes the Holy Family’s encounter with the old prophet Simeon and the holy old widow Anna. In his prophecy, Simeon extols the divine blessings which the Messiah is bringing to Israel and to all men and predicts that Mary will play a crucial and sacrificial role in her Son's redemptive work by sharing in her Son's sufferings.

The first reading explained : Malachi prophesies in the first reading that the Lord is going to appear suddenly in the Temple of Jerusalem  to purify its priests and the people . The prophecy warns that nobody can endure the day of the messenger's coming because he will be like a refining fire, purifying the sons of Levi.  Led by the Spirit,  Simeon saw the Infant Jesus as the fulfillment of this passage .  Simeon, even if unknown to himself, foresaw Christ and His priests of the New Covenant who were ordained during the Last Supper. He saw Jesus as the Lord Who would come to the Temple,  "destined to be the downfall and rise of many in Israel."  In today's reading, Malachi prophesies that God will purify the lax, lazy and indifferent priests of His Temple as silver is purified by fire.  At the time of Malachi (around 460-450 BC), the priests were offering blemished (blind, lame) sacrifices and giving bad example (1:6-2:4).  The people were negligent in their support of the Temple (3:6-12). Israelite wives were being rejected by husbands who wished to marry foreign women (2:14-16). Social injustice was rampant (3:5), and the people doubted God’s love (1:2-5). Hence, Malachi reminds them that the Day of the Lord, a Day of Judgment, reward and retribution is coming. He describes the Divine intervention as a two-stage process. First God’s messenger will appear to prepare the way by purifying the clergy and refining the cult (v. 3). This purification will take place until they present offerings to the Lord in a spirit of justice and righteousness. Then, the Lord of Hosts will suddenly appear in the Temple (v. 1), to bring judgment and justice against unfaithful sinners (v. 5). 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.”

The second reading explained:  The second reading proclaims Jesus as our Eternal High Priest of the New Covenant (Heb 2:17), Who offered Himself on the altar of Calvary, the only pure priestly sacrifice that could please God. The  Didache  or the first catechism of the early Church (14:1-3), saw Malachi’s prophecy of a pure sacrifice and offering made from east to west as a prophecy of the sacrifice of the Eucharist.  Hence Malachi prophesies that the Lord will enter His Temple, there will be a renewed priesthood, and there will be a pure sacrifice offered worldwide and pleasing to God -- the Eucharist. Jesus became like us in all things except sin in order that He might offer to the Father perfect praise and glory.  Besides, since Jesus fully shared our experience, He is now a merciful and faithful High Priest on our behalf,  "able to help those who are being tested."   Jesus replaces the former priesthood. In keeping with the theme of today’s feast, namely, the presentation of the first fruits, this excerpt from Hebrews emphasizes Jesus’ dual role, as  first-fruits ,  par excellence , and as the  faithful High priest  Who presents the perfect gift of Himself to God for the expiation of human sin. By virtue of His Incarnation, Jesus became human in every way (vv. 17-18) except as regards sin. As representative of His brothers and sisters before God and as their Mediator, Christ perfected His service as both sacrifice and priest. By so doing, Christ was able to “rob the devil” of power (v. 14). As the first-fruits from the dead, as the conqueror of sin and death, Christ, in His person and through His mission, has set the course and cleared the way we are to follow; the decision to do so must be a daily and deliberate one.  It takes faith to see God's power at work in the death of Jesus.  Simeon hinted at this when he told Mary that she herself would be pierced with a sword.  Even knowing that her Son was the Savior of the world, it would be difficult for Mary to see him accomplish that salvation by being crucified.

Exegesis of today’s Gospel:  The birth of Christ was revealed by three kinds of witnesses in three different 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 inspired by the Holy Spirit. Today’s Gospel describes the Presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple. It was intended to ritually redeem Jesus who was the first born in the family and where Mary herself will have to be ritually purified. Mary and Joseph was a typical pious Jewish couple, who went to the Temple in obedience to do all that was required and expected of them by the Law.The Feast of the Presentation of Jesus is a combined feast , commemorating the Jewish practice of the purification of the mother after childbirth and the presentation of the child in the Temple. It is known as the Hypapánte   feast or Feast of the Purification of Mary (by the offering two pigeons in the Temple), the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (by prayers and a sacrifice offered in the Temple to redeem or buy the firstborn male child back from the Lord), the Feast of Candlemas (because of its ancient rite of blessing of the candles to be used in the church for the next year — a practice dating from the middle of the fifth century) and the Feast of Encounter (because the New Testament, represented by the Baby Jesus, encountered the Old Testament, represented by Simeon and Anna). Originally, there was no connection between today’s festival and the blessing of candles.    In the ancient East, this celebration occurred on February 14, forty days after Epiphany.   On February 15, pagans celebrated the festival of Lupercalia , a great “light” festival.    Perhaps this is an instance of the Church's “baptizing” a pagan custom.    At the principal Mass, the celebrant blesses candles, and people take part in a candlelight procession.    This should remind us that Jesus is our High Priest and the Light of the World.

Purification and redemption ceremonies : The Gospel describes how Joseph, as the head of the Holy Family of Nazareth, presented Mary and the baby Jesus in the Temple of God for the mother’s purification and the child’s “redemption.” According to Leviticus 12:2-8, a woman who bore a child was unclean  for forty days following the birth of a son or eighty days following the birth of a daughter.   Although Mary, the most holy of women, ever-Virgin, was exempt from these precepts of the Law, because of her miraculous conception, she chose to submit herself to the Law just like any other Jewish mother. Joseph and Mary showed their total submission to Law and obey the norms prescribed by the Old Testament.  The custom was practiced probably for the physical and emotional re-integration of the new mother into the community. There was a religious reason as well. Exodus 13:2, 12-13 prescribes 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 commanded 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.  The Book of Numbers 18: 15 taught that since every Jewish firstborn male child belonged to Yahweh, the parents had to “buy back” (redeem), the child by offering a lamb or turtledoves as a sacrifice in the Temple. The price of redemption for a human baby is five shekels of silver (Num 18:15-16). Jesus never needed to be "bought back," as he belonged wholly to the Lord, but Joseph kept these laws as an act of obedience to God. 

The encounter with Simeon and Anna :   By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the old, pious and Spirit-filled Simeon and Anna had been waiting in the Temple for the revelation of God’s salvation. The Greek Church celebrates the Hypapánte or Feast of the Encounter commemorating the encounter of the New Testament represented by Jesus with the Old Testament represented by Simeon and Anna. 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 moment 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 Consolation of Israel, the Light of the nations.  Simeon recognizes Jesus as the Lord’s anointed one, and in his prayer of blessing he prophesies that Jesus is meant to be the glory of Israel and the light of revelation to the Gentiles. Pope Francis: “Simeon took him in his arms and thanked God that he had finally “seen” salvation. Anna, despite her advanced age, found new vigor and began to speak to everyone about the Baby. It is a beautiful image: two young parents and two elderly people, brought together by Jesus. He is the one who brings together and unites generations! He is the inexhaustible font of that love which overcomes every occasion of self-absorption, solitude, and sadness. In your journey as a family, you share so many beautiful moments: meals, rest, housework, leisure, prayer, trips and pilgrimages, and times of mutual support… Nevertheless, if there is no love then there is no joy, and authentic love comes to us from Jesus. He offers us his word, which illuminates our path; he gives us the Bread of life which sustains us on our journey.”

Simeon’s prophecy: Simeon's canticle (verses 29-32) is also a prophecy.  It consists of two stanzas: the first (verses 29-30) is his act of thanksgiving to God, filled with profound joy for having seen the Messiah.  The second (verses 31-32) is more obviously prophetic 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). While Simeon blessed Mary, he warned her that her child would be “ a sign of contradiction, ” and that she would be “ pierced with a sword.” Simeon was prophesying both the universal salvation that would be proclaimed by Jesus and the necessity of suffering in the mission of the Messiah. Jesus came to bring salvation to all men, yet He would be a sign of contradiction because some people would obstinately reject Him -- and for this reason He would be their ruin.  But for those who would accept Him with faith, Jesus would be their salvation, freeing them from sin in this life and raising them up to eternal life. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph marveled, but not because they did not know who Christ was. They were in awe at the way God was revealing Him. 

The paradox of blessedness:  Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God.  That blessedness also would become a sword which would pierce her heart as her Son died upon the cross. The words Simeon addressed to Mary announced that she would be intimately linked with her Son's redemptive work.  The sword indicated that Mary would have a share in her Son's sufferings. Her suffering would be an unspeakable pain which would pierce her soul.  Our Lord suffered on the cross for our sins, and it is those sins which forged the sword of Mary's pain.  Mary received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow.  But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises.  Jesus promised his disciples, "no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22).  The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way.  Do you know the joy of a life fully surrendered to God with faith and trust? According to Dr. Scot Hann, 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.

Anna’s encounter with the Lord and her testifying to the Messiah:  Anna was an eighty-four-year-old widow who spent her days in the Temple in fasting and prayer, waiting for the promised Messiah. She was rewarded with the joy of seeing her Redeemer as a Baby. In her excitement, she praised God and introduced the Infant to others around her as the expected Messiah. Supernatural hope grows with prayer and age!  Anna was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation that God would fulfill all his promises. She is a model of godliness for all believers as we advance in age.  Advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we do not have our hope placed rightly. Anna's hope in God and His promises grew with age. She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope.  Her hope and faith in God's promises fueled her indomitable zeal and fervor in prayer and the service of God's people. We grow in hope by placing our trust in the promises of Jesus Christ and relying not on our own strength, but on the grace and help of the Holy Spirit. After completing the presentation and redemption of baby Jesus and the ritual purification of Mary and the meeting with Simeon and Anna, Joseph and Mary understood more fully their responsibility before God to protect the child as they return to Nazareth

Life messages : 1)  Every Holy Mass in which we participate is our presentation . Although we were officially presented to God on the day of our Baptism, we present ourselves and our dear ones on the altar before God our Father through our Savior Jesus Christ at every Holy Mass. Hence, we need to live our daily lives with the awareness both that we are dedicated people consecrated to God and that we are obliged to lead holy lives.

2) We need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to recognize the presence of Jesus in ourselves and in others: All those 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 makes use of these simple souls to do much good for all mankind. In other words, The Holy Spirit employs ordinary men and women with simple faith as His instruments to bear witness to Christ, His ideals and teachings, just as He used Simeon and Anna.  The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Lord to us when we are receptive and eager to receive Him.  Let us be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit within us to recognize the indwelling presence of the Lord with us and in others.  (Fr. Antony Kadavil)

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  • Pope's homily: full text from feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Pope Francis at the Mass marking the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in 2015.

Pope's homily: full text from feast of the Presentation of the Lord

  • February 2, 2017

On Thursday, Pope Francis celebrated a solemn Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and also commemorated the 21st annual World Day for Consecrated Life.

In his homily for the Mass, the Holy Father called on consecrated women and men to “accompany Jesus as He goes forth to meet His people, to be in the midst of His people.”

Below are the full text of Pope Francis' homily for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord:

When the parents of Jesus brought the Child in fulfilment of the prescriptions of the law, Simeon, “guided by the Spirit” (Lk 2:27), took the Child in his arms and broke out in a hymn of blessing and praise. “My eyes”, he said, “have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Lk 2:30-32). Simeon not only saw, but was privileged to hold in his arms the long-awaited hope, which filled him with exultation. His heart rejoiced because God had come to dwell among his people; he felt his presence in the flesh.

Today’s liturgy tells us that in that rite, the Lord, forty days after his birth, “outwardly was fulfilling the Law, but in reality he was coming to meet his believing people” (Roman Missal, 2 February, Introduction to the Entrance Procession). This encounter of God with his people brings joy and renews hope.

Simeon’s canticle is the hymn of the believer, who at the end of his days can exclaim: “It is true, hope in God never disappoints” (cf. Rm 5:5). God never deceives us. Simeon and Anna, in their old age, were capable of a new fruitfulness, and they testify to this in song. Life is worth living in hope, because the Lord keeps his promise. Jesus himself will later explain this promise in the synagogue of Nazareth: the sick, prisoners, those who are alone, the poor, the elderly and sinners, all are invited to take up this same hymn of hope. Jesus is with them, Jesus is with us (cf. Lk 4:18-19).

We have inherited this hymn of hope from our elders. They made us part of this process. In their faces, in their lives, in their daily sacrifice we were able to see how this praise was embodied. We are heirs to the dreams of our elders, heirs to the hope that did not disappoint our founding mothers and fathers, our older brothers and sisters. We are heirs to those who have gone before us and had the courage to dream. Like them, we too want to sing, “God does not deceive; hope in him does not disappoint”. God comes to meet his people. And we want to sing by taking up the prophecy of Joel and making it our own: “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions” (2:28).

We do well to take up the dreams of our elders, so that we can prophesy in our day and once more encounter what originally set our hearts afire. Dreams and prophecies together. The remembrance of how our elders, our fathers and mothers, dreamed, and the courage prophetically to carry on those dreams.

This attitude will make us fruitful. Most importantly, it will protect us from a temptation that can make our consecrated life barren: the temptation of survival. An evil that can gradually take root within us and within our communities. The mentality of survival makes us reactionaries, fearful, slowly and silently shutting ourselves up in our houses and in our own preconceived notions. It makes us look back, to the glory days – days that are past – and rather than rekindling the prophetic creativity born of our founders’ dreams, it looks for shortcuts in order to evade the challenges knocking on our doors today. A survival mentality robs our charisms of power, because it leads us to “domesticate” them, to make them “user-friendly”, robbing them of their original creative force. It makes us want to protect spaces, buildings and structures, rather than to encourage new initiatives. The temptation of survival makes us forget grace; it turns us into professionals of the sacred but not fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters of that hope to which we are called to bear prophetic witness. An environment of survival withers the hearts of our elderly, taking away their ability to dream. In this way, it cripples the prophecy that our young are called to proclaim and work to achieve. In a word, the temptation of survival turns what the Lord presents as an opportunity for mission into something dangerous, threatening, potentially disastrous. This attitude is not limited to the consecrated life, but we in particular are urged not to fall into it.

Let us go back to the Gospel passage and once more contemplate that scene. Surely, the song of Simeon and Anna was not the fruit of self-absorption or an analysis and review of their personal situation. It did not ring out because they were caught up in themselves and were worried that something bad might happen to them. Their song was born of hope, the hope that sustained them in their old age. That hope was rewarded when they encountered Jesus. When Mary let Simeon take the Son of the Promise into his arms, the old man began to sing of his dreams. Whenever she puts Jesus in the midst of his people, they encounter joy. For this alone will bring back our joy and hope, this alone will save us from living in a survival mentality. Only this will make our lives fruitful and keep our hearts alive: putting Jesus where he belongs, in the midst of his people.

All of us are aware of the multicultural transformation we are experiencing; no one doubts this. Hence, it is all the more important for consecrated men and women to be one with Jesus, in their lives and in the midst of these great changes. Our mission – in accordance with each particular charism – reminds us that we are called to be a leaven in this dough. Perhaps there are better brands of flour, but the Lord has called us to be leaven here and now, with the challenges we face. Not on the defensive or motivated by fear, but with our hands on the plough, helping the wheat to grow, even though it has frequently been sown among weeds. Putting Jesus in the midst of his people means having a contemplative heart, one capable of discerning how God is walking through the streets of our cities, our towns and our neighbourhoods. Putting Jesus in the midst of his people means taking up and carrying the crosses of our brothers and sisters. It means wanting to touch the wounds of Jesus in the wounds of a world in pain, which longs and cries out for healing.

To put ourselves with Jesus in the midst of his people! Not as religious “activists”, but as men and women who are constantly forgiven, men and women anointed in baptism and sent to share that anointing and the consolation of God with everyone.

To put ourselves with Jesus in the midst of his people. For this reason, “we sense the challenge of finding and sharing a ‘mystique’ of living together, of mingling and encounter, of embracing and supporting one another, of stepping into this flood tide which, while chaotic, can [with the Lord] become a genuine experience of fraternity, a caravan of solidarity, a sacred pilgrimage… If we were able to take this route, it would be so good, so soothing, so liberating and hope-filled! To go out of ourselves and to join others” (Evangelii Gaudium, 87) is not only good for us; it also turns our lives and hopes into a hymn of praise. But we will only be able to do this if we take up the dreams of our elders and turn them into prophecy.

Let us accompany Jesus as he goes forth to meet his people, to be in the midst of his people. Let us go forth, not with the complaining or anxiety of those who have forgotten how to prophesy because they failed to take up the dreams of their elders, but with serenity and songs of praise. Not with apprehension but with the patience of those who trust in the Spirit, the Lord of dreams and prophecy. In this way, let us share what is truly our own: the hymn that is born of hope.

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  • Presentation of Our Lord

POPE FRANCIS’ REFLECTION HOMILY ON THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD.

PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD

ANGELUS ADDRESS 2 February 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Good Morning ,

Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: when the infant Jesus was presented in the Temple by the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. Today is also World Day of Consecrated Life which recalls the great treasure in the Church of those who follow the Lord assiduously, by professing the evangelical counsels.

The Gospel (cf. Lk 2:22-40) narrates that 40 days after his birth, Jesus’ parents took their child to Jerusalem to consecrate him to God, as prescribed by Jewish Law. And as it describes a rite prescribed by tradition, this event brings to our attention the behaviour of some of the protagonists. They are caught at the very moment they experience the encounter with the Lord in the place where he makes himself present and close to mankind. They are Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna who are examples of welcome and offering as they offered their own lives to God. These four were not the same. They were all different but they all sought God and allowed themselves to be guided by the Lord.

The evangelist Luke describes all four of them in a twofold attitude: the attitude of movement and the attitude of wonder.

The first attitude is movement. Mary and Joseph head towards Jerusalem: meanwhile, moved by the Spirit, Simeon goes to the Temple, while Anna tirelessly serves God day and night. In this way the four protagonists of the Gospel passage show us that Christian life requires dynamism, and it requires a willingness to walk, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide one. Immobility suits neither Christian witness nor the Church’s mission. The world needs Christians who allow themselves to be moved, who do not tire of walking on life’s streets, to bring the comforting Word of Jesus to everyone. Every baptized person has received the vocation to proclaim — to proclaim something, to proclaim Jesus — the vocation and mission to evangelize: to proclaim Jesus! Parishes and various ecclesial communities are called to foster the commitment of young people, families and the elderly so that everyone can have a Christian experience, living the Church’s life and mission as protagonists.

The second attitude with which Saint Luke presents the four protagonists in the narrative is wonder. Mary and Joseph: “marvelled at what was said about him” (v. 33). Wonder is also an explicit reaction of the aged Simeon, who sees with his own eyes in the Child Jesus the redemption of God for his people: that redemption which he had awaited for years. And the same is true of Anna who “gave thanks to God” (v. 38) and went about pointing Jesus out to the people. She was a saintly chatterbox. She talked well, she talked of good, not bad things. She spoke, she announced: a saint who went from one woman to the next, making them see Jesus. These figures of believers were wrapped in wonder because they allowed themselves to be captivated by and involved in the events that occurred right before their eyes. The ability to be amazed at things around us promotes religious experience and makes the encounter with the Lord more fruitful. On the contrary, the inability to marvel makes us indifferent and widens the gap between the journey of faith and daily life.

Brothers and sisters, always [be] on the move and open to wonder!

May the Virgin Mary help us to contemplate every day in Jesus, God’s gift to us, and to allow ourselves to be engaged by him in the movement of the gift with joyful wonder so that our whole life may become a praise to God in the service to our brothers and sisters.

SOURCE: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/angelus/2020/documents/papa-francesco_angelus_20200202.html

presentation of our lord

FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD 23rd WORLD DAY FOR CONSECRATED LIFE HOMILY 2 February 2019

Today’s Liturgy shows  Jesus who goes out to meet his people .  It is the feast day of encounter: the newness of the Child encounters the tradition of the temple; the promise finds fulfillment; young Mary and Joseph encounter the elderly Simeon and Anna.  Everything, therefore, meets as Jesus arrives.

What does this mean for us?  Above all, that we too are called to welcome Jesus who comes to meet us.   To encounter him : the God of life is to be encountered every day of our lives; not now and then, but every day.  To follow Jesus is not a decision taken once and for all, it is a daily choice.  And we do not meet the Lord virtually, but directly, we encounter him in our lives, in the concreteness of life.  Otherwise, Jesus becomes only a nice memory of the past.  When we welcome him as the Lord of life, however, as the centre and the beating heart of everything, then he is alive and lives anew in us.  And what happened in the temple also happens to us: around him everything meets, and life becomes harmonious.  With Jesus we find again the courage to carry on and the strength to remain firm.  The encounter with the Lord is the source.  It is important then to return to the source: to retrace in our mind the decisive moments of encounter with him, to renew our first love, perhaps writing down our love story with the Lord.  This would be good for our consecrated life, so that it does not become a  time that passes by , but rather a  time of encounter .

If we call to mind our original meeting with the Lord, we become aware that it did not arise as something private between us and God.  No, it blossomed in the context of a believing people, alongside many brothers and sisters, at precise times and places.  The Gospel tells us this, showing how  the encounter takes place within the people of God , in its concrete history, in its living traditions: in the temple, according to the law, in the context of prophecy, in young and old together (cf  Lk  2:25-28, 34).  It is like this too in the consecrated life: it blossoms and flourishes in the Church; if it is isolated, it withers.  It matures when the young and elderly walk together, when the young rediscover their roots and the elderly welcome those fruits.  When we walk alone, however, when we remain fixated on the past or jump ahead in trying to survive, then the consecrated life stagnates.  Today, on the feast day of encounter, we ask for the grace to rediscover the living Lord amid a believing people, and to allow the charism we have received to encounter today’s graces.

The Gospel also tells us that God’s encounter with his people has both a starting point and a destination point.  It begins with the  call  in the temple and arrives at the  vision  in the temple.  It is a  call  that is twofold.  There is a first call “ according to the law ” (v. 22).  It is the call of Joseph and Mary, who go to the temple to fulfil what the law prescribes.  The text emphasizes this almost as a refrain, even four times (cf. vv. 22, 23, 24, 27).  This is not something forced: Jesus’ parents are not constrained to go or merely to perform an external duty.  They go in response to God’s call.  Then there is a second call,  according to the Spirit.   It is the call of Simeon and Anna.  This too is stressed with insistence: three times, in the case of Simeon, it refers to the Holy Spirit (cf. vv. 25, 26, 27) and it concludes with Anna the prophetess, who was inspired to give thanks to God (cf. v. 38).  Two young people run to the temple, called by the law; two elderly people moved by the Spirit.  What does this twofold call, by the law and by the Spirit, mean for our spiritual life and our consecrated life?  It means that we are all called to a  twofold obedience : to the law – in the sense of what gives order to our lives – and to the Spirit, who does new things in our lives.  And so the encounter with the Lord is born: the Spirit reveals the Lord, but to welcome him we need to persevere every day.  Even the greatest charisms, if lacking an ordered life, cannot bear fruit.  On the other hand, even the best rules are not sufficient without the freshness of the Spirit: the law and the Spirit go together.

To better understand this call, seen today in the temple in the first days of Jesus’ life, we should move to the first days of his public ministry, at Cana, where he transforms water into wine.  There too there is a call to obedience, with Mary, who says: “Do whatever he tells you” ( Jn  2:5).   Do whatever .  And Jesus asks for something particular; he does not suddenly do something new, does not produce the missing wine out of nothing – he could have done so – but he asks for something concrete and demanding.  He asks them to fill six great stone water jars for the ritual purification, which recalls the law.  That means pouring around six hundred litres of water from the well: time and effort, which seemed pointless, because what was missing was not water but wine!  And yet, precisely from those jars filled “up to the brim” (v. 7), Jesus draws forth new wine.  And so it is for us: God calls us to encounter him through faithfulness to concrete things – God is always encountered in concrete things: daily prayer, Holy Mass, Confession, real charity, the daily word of God, closeness, especially to those most in need spiritually or physically.  Concrete things, such as obedience to one’s superior and to the rule in the consecrated life.  If we put this law into practice with love – with love! – then the Spirit will come and bring God’s surprise, just as in the temple and at Cana.  Thus the water of daily life is transformed into the wine of newness, and our life, which seems to be more bound, in reality becomes more free.  This reminds me now of a humble sister who really had the charism of being close to priests and seminarians.  The other day the cause for her beatification was introduced here in the Diocese [of Rome].  She was a simple sister, not well known, but she had the virtue of obedience, of faithfulness and of not being afraid of new things.  We ask the Lord, through the intercession of Sister Bernardetta, to give all of us the grace to walk on this path.

The encounter which is born of the call culminates in  vision .  Simeon says: “My eyes have seen your salvation” ( Lk  2:30).  He sees the Child and he sees salvation.  He does not see the Messiah who works miracles, but a small child.  He does not see something extraordinary, but Jesus with his parents, who bring a pair of turtledoves or two pigeons to the temple, which is the most humble offering (cf. v. 24).  Simeon sees God’s simplicity and welcomes his presence.  He is not looking for anything else, is not asking or wanting for something more; it is enough to see the Child and take him in his arms: “ nunc dimittis , now let me depart” (cf. v. 29).  God, as he, is enough for him.  In God he finds the ultimate meaning of his life.  This is the vision of consecrated life, a vision that is simple and prophetic in its simplicity, where we keep the Lord before our eyes and between our hands, and not to serve anything else.   He  is our life,  he  is our hope,  he  is our future.  Consecrated life consists in this prophetic vision in the Church: it is a  gaze  that sees God present in the world, even if many do not notice him; it is a  voice  that says: “God is enough, the rest passes away”; it is  praise  that gushes forth in spite of everything, as the prophetess Anna shows.  She was a woman of great age, who had lived for many years as a widow, but was not gloomy, nostalgic or withdrawn into herself; on the contrary, she arises, she praises God and speaks only of him (cf. v. 38).  I would like to think that this woman knew how to “talk in a good way”, and she could be a good patroness to call us to conversion from the evil of gossip, because she went from one place to another saying only: “That’s him!  That’s the baby! Go and see him!”  I imagine her like this, the woman next door.

This then is the consecrated life: praise which gives joy to God’s people, prophetic vision that reveals what counts.  When it is like this, then it flowers and becomes a summons for all of us to counter mediocrity: to counter a devaluation of our spiritual life, to counter the temptation to reduce God’s importance, to counter an accommodation to a comfortable and worldly life, to counter complaints – complaints! – dissatisfaction and self-pity, to counter a mentality of resignation and “we have always done it this way”: this is not God’s way.  Consecrated life is not about survival, it is not about preparing ourselves for  ars bene moriendi : this is the temptation of our days, in the face of declining vocations.  No, it is not about survival, but new life.  “But… there are only a few of us…” – it’s about new life.  It is a living  encounter  with the Lord in his people.  It is a  call  to the faithful obedience of daily life and to the unexpected surprises from the Spirit.  It is a  vision  of what we need to embrace in order to experience joy: Jesus.

SOURCE: http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190202_omelia-vitaconsacrata.html

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homily for presentation of the lord 2021

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Reflection for the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple - 2nd February 2021

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Anna the Prophet

Liturgical time is a strange thing – we have gone from the infant in his mother’s arms to the adult Jesus bursting upon the world with signs and wonders in Galilee in the space of a few weeks, and now once more he is the babe in arms as he is presented in the Temple 40 days after his birth.

Perhaps this is a bit like the action replays you get when watching sports on TV – go back, watch that superb goal in slow motion, savour again and again the moment of victory. For us now at this Feast of the Presentation it’s an opportunity to go back after the glory and excitement of Epiphanytide and look again in more detail at what went before. Here in the temple, at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, there are pointers to his earthly ministry of teaching and healing but also there are hints of what is to come beyond this. Any number of action replays cannot plumb the depths of the victory won for us by Jesus, God incarnate, but I share a few thoughts from pondering this feast.

It was a moment of joy for his parents, presenting their first-born son to God, and a moment of joy for Simeon who welcomed him in words recorded in the Gospel according to Luke Chapter 2:

“My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

But after these glorious words:

Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed — and a sword will pierce your own soul too."

I’ve heard it said that this feast of Candlemas is when we leave behind the joy of Christmas and turn towards Good Friday and Easter. Simeon speaks of an important dynamic of Jesus’ life and of our own lives as Christians – that the joy of salvation comes through embracing and transcending conflict and suffering.

In the Epiphanytide readings we have heard of Jesus’ healing ministry but also the questioning thoughts of those who encountered him. Where is all this coming from? Who does he think he is? We like to think that true love would be so obvious that we could not miss it, yet this open, inclusive love that welcomes the broken, the maimed and the outcasts can be very threatening to our tidy lives. Jesus is “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” but light so often reveals things that we’d rather keep hidden. In the words of our Epiphanytide Lauds hymn:

Alive as early morning light Christ comes as daybreak to the world A shaft of shining clarity Revealing God’s pure holiness.

That pure holiness shines into our hearts to reveal both our glory and our sin. Yet it also reveals God’s infinite love for each one of us.

Our hymn continues:

May we with faith receive the Word, With love make answer to his love, Within the light of life now walk As children of the living God.

This Christmas season we have been pondering the way of peace. Simeon’s words touch on the paradox that this way of peace is also a way of conflict. In the words of St. Benedict, we are not to make a false peace but rather have the courage to confront the brokenness of life. At the beginning of Advent we stood with the prophet Anna, one who had been unafraid to embrace all that life brought to her. She still praised God in the midst of the suffering and humiliation of her people, and in the face of the tragedy of her own life. We now see God blessing her in her faithfulness and opening her eyes to the glory of the child who would be the redemption of Jerusalem.

The salvation that Anna and Simeon, and all of us, long for will be no easy answer to the mess and pain but it will be a source of great joy. May we have the courage to walk this journey to the cross, and thence to resurrection and new life in abundance.

As our hymn concludes:

With joy we worship Christ our Lord; May we embrace the life he brings, Reflect the glory of his face, Behold it for eternity.

Mother Anne - 2nd February 2021

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homily for presentation of the lord 2021

Pope Francis’ homily for the Presentation of the Lord and World Day for Consecrated Life

Pope francis, thursday, february 3, 2022.

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

Yesterday evening in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This feast, also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Candlemas , has been celebrated for hundreds of years on February 2 – that is, 40 days after Christmas. Because this is also the feast during which we remember the witness of Simeon and Anna in the Temple in Jerusalem, since 1997 it has also been celebrated within the Church as the World Day for Consecrated Life. Read the full text of the Holy Father's homily below:

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis

Feast of the presentation of the lord 26th world day for consecrated life wednesday, 2 february 2022.

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

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The Significance of the Presentation of the Lord

Traditionally, the Church has set aside Feb. 2 in observance of the Presentation of the Lord – or the day in which Joseph and Mary presented Jesus to the priests and elders in the Temple.

For years, this feast – which in the United States is only formally celebrated when it falls on a Sunday – marked the end of the Christmas season. In old days, the Presentation was often referred to as “Candlemas” and was celebrated by a candle-lit procession into the church, signifying Christ as the “light of nations.”

Known originally as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a relatively ancient celebration. We know that the Church at Jerusalem was observing the feast as early as the first half of the fourth century, and likely earlier.

According to Jewish law, the firstborn male child belonged to God, and the parents had to “buy him back” on the 40th day after his birth, by offering a sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24) in the temple — thus the “presentation” of the child. On that same day, the mother would be ritually purified — thus the “purification.”

St. Mary and St. Joseph kept this law, even though, since St. Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Christ, she would not have had to go through ritual purification. In his Gospel, Luke (2:22-39) recounts the story.

Originally, the feast was celebrated on Feb. 14, the 40th day after Epiphany (Jan. 6), because Christmas wasn’t yet celebrated as its own feast, and so the Nativity, Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord (Theophany), and the feast celebrating Christ’s first miracle at the wedding in Cana were all celebrated on the same day. By the last quarter of the fourth century, however, the Church at Rome had begun to celebrate the Nativity on Dec. 25, so the Feast of the Presentation was moved to Feb. 2, 40 days later.

When Christ was presented in the temple, “there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel.” When St. Mary and St. Joseph brought Christ to the temple, Simeon embraced the Child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon: “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

Because of the words of the canticle — “a light to the revelation of the Gentiles” — by the 11th century, the custom had developed in the West of blessing candles on the Feast of the Presentation. The candles were then lit, and a procession took place through the darkened church while the Canticle of Simeon was sung. Because of this, the feast also became known as Candlemas. While the procession and blessing of the candles is not often performed in the United States today, Candlemas is still an important feast in many European countries.

Things to Do:

            — Hold your own candlelight procession at home, teaching your children the significance of the light as a symbol of Christ.

— Ask a priest to bless the candles you hope to use at home this year.

— Read the Gospel account of the Presentation, found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 22 to 35.

— Pray a decade of the Rosary, focusing upon the Presentation of the Lord, the fourth Joyful Mystery.

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homily for presentation of the lord 2021

HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD. CANDELMAS DAY

HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD .

CANDELMAS DAY

On this Feast Joseph and Mary went to the Temple in order to fulfil the requirements of the Jewish law.  Essential to the Jewish religion was the praise of God in all of human life.   They received God’s blessing through Simeon and Anna.  Joseph & Mary were introducing their son into a faith community just as parents do when they bring their child for baptism.  This Feast reminds us of the way in which our senior citizens, young parents and the baby who is presented are all involved in that unbroken chain of faith. On this Feast we pray that we will be alert and appreciative of those who have passed on the faith to us and that we will be responsible for transmitting that faith to those who come after us.

Today the pressures of secularism and modern life have reduced the significance of religious observances in the lives of many Christians. As a result God would seem to have receded from the awareness and experience of everyday life.  Many assume that God is found only in certain places, in sacred buildings.  Their lives, on the other hand, move in a secular realm which is so often devoid of a sense of the sacred.  As a result their experiences are reduced and impoverished.  They have no meaning beyond themselves, there is no opening to the divine, or to God.

It is a great challenge to all of us today to find effective means to celebrate the presence of God in our ordinary human lives.  We need to learn to greet the morning with gratitude; to celebrate the goodness of food, family and friendship at meal times; to recognise our creator in the beauty of a morning sunrise or the evening sunset; to recognise our sense of freedom and the responsibility that accompanies it.

Today is also a World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life, a day when we honour and pray for all those who live that life.  Our Archdiocese of Tuam and the Church throughout the world has been encouraged, supported and challenged by women and men who devoted themselves to God in Consecrated Life.  They declared their generous availability to God as they committed themselves to the various ministries in education, nursing, parish ministry, working with the under-privileged and many of them living the Contemplative Life.

Were it not for the faithful service of these religious women and men, then the landscape of our Churh would be very impoverished indeed.  They have served and continue to serve as a beacon of hope, broadening our horizon, providing us with a sense of perspective and enabling us to catch glimpses of the Lord in a busy and at times very confused world.

Today we pray that those in Consecrated Life will continue to help us to recognise Jesus Christ as our Messiah in our fractured culture just as Simeon and Anna are the ones who recognise the baby Jesus as the Messiah in the arms of Mary and Joseph.

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

  • Mal 3:1-4; Heb 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40 (2:22-32)
  • The Presentation in the Temple

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from  Fr. Martin Hogan

2021 2nd February 2021>> Fr. Martin’s Gospel Reflections / Homilies on Luke 2:22-40 for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: ‘My eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations’.

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Gospel (Except USA): Luke 2:22-40, My eyes have seen your salvation

Gospel (USA): Luke 2:22–40, My eyes have seen your salvation.

Reflections (8)

(i) Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: Sometimes older people have an insight into life and into other people that is the fruit of long experience. Life has taught them what is important and what is not so important. In today’s gospel reading, we find two older people who express a great insight into the young child of a young married couple. Simeon declares the child to be God’s salvation, a light to enlighten the pagans and to bring glory to Israel. Anna announces that this child will fulfil the hopes of all who have looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem. Simeon made his declaration to the child’s parents, and Anna made hers to a larger group. They both speak to all of us today about the true identity of Jesus. As Mary and Joseph present Jesus to God in the Temple, in a sense, Simeon and Anna present Jesus to us by what they say about him. Perhaps, we might remember to day and give thanks for all those who presented Jesus to us, especially the older members of our family and our community. We bless and light candles on this day in response to Simeon’s recognition of Jesus as the light to enlighten all people. God’s light has shone and continues to shine upon us through Jesus, the light of God’s love, God’s truth and God’s life. It is a light that has the power to overcome the darkness that can easily hang over us, especially the darkness of fear and of death. The second reading declares that Jesus shared in our flesh and blood so that by his death he might set free all those who had been held on slavery by the fear of death. On this feast, we open our lives and hearts afresh to what Saint John Henry Newman calls God’s ‘kindly light’ which has shone so abundantly upon us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

(ii) Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: Today we celebrate Jesus’ presentation in the Temple in Jerusalem by his parents, in accordance with the Jewish Law. In the opening chapters of his gospel, Luke portrays Jesus’ parents as faithfully observing the Jewish Law. In this way he wants to stress that the movement that became known as Christianity has its roots deeply in the Jewish faith. In the Jewish Scriptures, especially in the prophet Isaiah, Israel’s role was to be a light to the Gentiles, to reveal the light of God to the world. According to our gospel reading, the elderly Simeon, a devout Jew, recognizes Mary and Joseph’s child as the one who is to embody this calling of Israel. He is to be a light to enlighten the pagans, and in being faithful to this role he will bring glory to Israel. Simeon had spent his life looking forward to ‘Israel’s comforting’. When Mary and Joseph entered the Temple with their new born first child on that day, Simeon’s longings and hopes were brought to fulfilment. It has been said that Simeon has become the patron saint of those who, having found meaning at last in their lives, are able to let go and surrender to the Lord. His prayer of surrender has become part of the Night Prayer of the Church. We pray that prayer as people who have been graced by God’s light shining through Jesus. Like Simeon, we have come to recognize Jesus as the light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of Israel. We have candles blessed on this day; we light them and carry them as a sign of our joy of discovering Jesus as the light of the world. Indeed, every time we light a candle in church or at home, we are acknowledging Jesus as the light of the world and we are also recognizing our own need for his gracious light as we struggle with the various forms of darkness in our lives.

(iii) Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: This morning’s gospel reading features a man and a woman, Simeon and Anna, who had given themselves over to the service of the Lord for many years. Simeon is described as upright and devout, on whom the Holy Spirit rested. It is said of Anna that she never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. As well as being the Feast of the Presentation, today is also the World Day for Consecrated Life. Simeon and Anna remind us of those men and women who have consecrated themselves to serve the Lord in the religious life. Today we thank God for them all and we ask God’s blessing upon them. Simeon and Anna’s close relationship with the Lord gave them a special gift of insight. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus into the Temple, Simeon recognized their child as a ‘light to enlighten the pagans’ and as ‘the glory of your people Israel’. Anna recognized their child as the one who fulfilled the hopes of those who were looking forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem. They had a rich insight into who this child really was and they shared this insight with others; they continue to share their insight with us today. As our relationship with the Lord deepens, through prayer and through our following his way, we too will grow in our insight into the Lord’s identity and into the meaning of his whole ministry from his birth to resurrection. We too will be called upon to witness to that growing insight as Simeon and Anna did. This morning, we celebrate Simeon’s insight into Jesus as the light to enlighten all peoples. We recognize our own need for this light and we invite the Lord to shine his light into whatever darkness may be in our own hearts and lives.

(iv) Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: The gospel reading for today’s feast describes a meeting between a young couple and their infant child and two people who were well on in years, Simeon and Anna. Simeon’s response when he met the infant Jesus was to pray; he blessed God. His prayer has become part of the official prayer of the church and is prayed every night by those who pray night prayer. Anna’s response on meeting the child Jesus was to speak about Jesus to others, especially to those who were waiting for God to visit them in a special way. Simeon’s meeting with Jesus and his parents led him to look upwards towards God in prayer; Anna’s meeting with Jesus and his parents led her to look outwards towards others in witness. Simeon and Anna have each something to say to us about how to receive the Lord. We too are called to respond to the Lord’s coming to us as light of the world, in the same two-fold way, in prayer and in witness. We bless God, we thank God, in prayer for the gift of his Son, the light to enlighten all people, and we also allow that light to shine through us before others, by witnessing to the Lord in the way that we live, by what we say and do. The Lord who entered the temple in Jerusalem as the light of the world has entered and is entering all our lives; this morning we look to Simeon and Anna to show us how best to respond to his gracious coming.

(v) Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: At the centre of today’s gospel reading are two older people, Simeon and Anna. They were both blessed with the gift of recognition or insight. They both recognized the true identity of the child who was carried into the temple by his young parents. Simeon recognized Jesus as the light to enlighten the pagans and as the glory of Israel. Anna recognized him as the Deliverer for whom people had been waiting. They both went on to proclaim to others what they had come to recognize for themselves.  Their gift of recognition was the fruit of their prayer. They were people of prayer; Simeon’s prayer has become part of the Night Prayer of the church; Anna is described as serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. Their prayerfulness made them sensitive to the Lord’s presence and helped them to recognize the Lord even in the surprising form of the new born child of a young couple. Simon and Anna remind us that our own faithfulness to prayer can help to make us more sensitive to the various, and sometimes surprising, ways that the Lord is present to us throughout our life. The time we spent with the Lord in prayer makes it easier for us to recognize him when he comes to us.

(vi) Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: Today is a day when we traditionally bless candles. It is a feast of light, of God’s light revealed in Jesus. In the gospel reading Simeon declares Jesus to be a light to enlighten the pagans, as well as being the glory of Israel. Today’s feast closes the Christmas festival of light. It is a joyful feast and, yet, a shadow is cast over this joyful scene in the Temple in Jerusalem. Having declared the child Jesus to be God’s light to enlighten the pagans and to bring glory to Israel, Simeon goes on to declare that this same child is also destined to be a sign that is rejected. Not everyone will welcome the light that he brings which is why this child, according to Simeon, is destined for the fall and the rising of many in Israel. Some in Israel will stumble over Jesus; others will be lifted up by him. In the language of the fourth gospel, ‘the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil’. We are all capable of turning away from the light, the light of God’s love and God’s truth shining through Jesus. We can be more comfortable with lesser lights. Yet, the light of God continues to shine through Jesus, the risen Lord. No amount of human rejection diminishes that light. Every day we are called by God to keep turning towards this radiant light of Jesus, after the example of Simeon and Anna in the gospel reading.

(vii) Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: In today’s first reading, the prophet Malachi announces that the Lord will one day enter his Temple in Jerusalem as the refiner and purifier of his people, so that their worship will be as the Lord desires it. In the gospel of John, Jesus declares that he will enable people to worship God as God wants to be worshipped, a worship in spirit and truth. Jesus is referring to a worship of God that is inspired by the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. This worship of God, inspired by the Spirit of God, is not confined to a religious building, a church. The Spirit inspires us to worship God not only with our lips, as in the liturgy, but with our lives. Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans refers to our spiritual worship, by which he means a worship which embraces all of our lives. He calls on us to present our bodies, our embodied selves, as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. This is the worship of our lives. Each day we are to offer our lives to God. This was the kind of worship that characterized the life of Jesus. In the gospel reading, Mary and Joseph came to the principal place of worship for Jews, the Temple. They come not just to worship, but to present their son to God. As an adult, Jesus lived out that presentation of himself to God that was made by his parents at this time. Throughout his adult life, Jesus presented himself as a living sacrifice to God, in the words of Saint Paul. He lived his life with a clear focus on God at all times. Jesus calls on us to have that same focus. Because Jesus is the full revelation of God, to live our lives with a clear focus on God amount sto living our lives with a clear focus on Jesus, our risen Lord. Today’s feast encourages us to keep presenting ourselves, our hearts, minds and bodies, to the Lord. We are to keep our relationship with the Lord to the fore in all we say and do. In that way, our whole lives will be a worship of the Lord.

(viii) Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: The feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a day when, traditionally, we bless candles that will be used in the church’s liturgy or at home. The blessing and lighting of candles speaks to us of Jesus, the light of the world. When Mary and Joseph brought their child, Jesus, to the Temple in Jerusalem to present him to God, Simeon addressed their child as a ‘light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel’. We all have a longing for light, especially at this dark time of the year. During the week, we had one very bright day, when, even though it was very cold, the sun shine all day and the sky was blue from sunrise to sunset. We appreciate such days all the more in these dark winter months. When Mary and Joseph brought their new born child into the Temple, they were presenting him not just to God but, in a sense, to all of humanity as a light to shine in darkness, a ‘light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel’. We can all experience a darkness of spirit at any time of the year, but perhaps especially in the dark months of winter. Today’s feast reminds us that no matter how dark our spirit, we always walk in the light of the Lord’s presence. The candles we bless today, the candles we light in our church or in our homes. speaks to us of that greater light from God, Jesus, our risen Lord. In the words of Saint John’s gospel, ‘the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it’. Today’s feast invites us to keep opening our minds and our spirits to this light from God, which shines through Jesus. It is the light of love and the light of life. As Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple, we are invited to keep presenting ourselves to the Lord, the light of whose presence is always shining upon us, especially in those times when we sense a darkness of some kind coming over us. Fr. Martin Hogan. Retrieved 2021.02.02

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Pope Francis Epiphany homily: The magi teach us that worshiping Jesus is a gradual process

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

Below is the text of Pope Francis' homily, delivered on Jan. 6, 2021, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord.

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The Evangelist Matthew tells us that the Magi, when they came to Bethlehem, “saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him” (Mt 2:11). Worshiping the Lord is not easy; it does not just happen. It requires a certain spiritual maturity and is the fruit of an at times lengthy interior journey. Worshiping God is not something we do spontaneously. True, human beings have a need to worship, but we can risk missing the goal. Indeed, if we do not worship God, we will worship idols – there is no middle way, it is either God or idols; or, to use the words of a French writer: “Whoever does not worship God, worships the devil” (Léon Bloy) – and instead of becoming believers, we will become idolaters. It is just like that, aut aut.

In our day, it is particularly necessary for us, both as individuals and as communities, to devote more time to worship. We need to learn ever better how to contemplate the Lord. We have somewhat lost the meaning of the prayer of adoration, so we must take it up again, both in our communities and in our own spiritual life. Today, then, let us learn a few useful lessons from the Magi. Like them, we want to fall down and worship the Lord. To worship him seriously, not as Herod said: “Let me know where the place is and I will go to worship him”. No, that worship is not good. Ours must be serious!

The Liturgy of the Word offers us three phrases that can help us to understand more fully what it means to be worshipers of the Lord. They are: “to lift up our eyes”, “to set out on a journey” and “to see”.

The Liturgy of the Word offers us three phrases that can help us to understand more fully what it means to be worshipers of the Lord. They are: “to lift up our eyes”, “to set out on a journey” and “to see”. These three phrases can help us to understand what it means to be a worshiper of the Lord.

The first phrase, to lift up our eyes, comes to us from the prophet Isaiah. To the community of Jerusalem, recently returned from exile and disheartened by great challenges and hardships, the prophet addresses these powerful words of encouragement: “Lift up your eyes and look around” (60:4). He urges them to lay aside their weariness and complaints, to escape the bottleneck of a narrow way of seeing things, to cast off the dictatorship of the self, the constant temptation to withdraw into ourselves and our own concerns. To worship the Lord, we first have to “lift up our eyes”. In other words, not to let ourselves be imprisoned by those imaginary spectres that stifle hope, not to make our problems and difficulties the centre of our lives. This does not mean denying reality, or deluding ourselves into thinking that all is well. On the contrary, it is a matter of viewing problems and anxieties in a new way, knowing that the Lord is aware of our troubles, attentive to our prayers and not indifferent to the tears we shed.

This way of seeing things, which despite everything continues to trust in the Lord, gives rise to filial gratitude. When this happens, our hearts become open to worship. On the other hand, when we focus exclusively on problems, and refuse to lift up our eyes to God, fear and confusion creep into our hearts, giving rise to anger, bewilderment, anxiety and depression. Then it becomes difficult to worship the Lord. Once this happens, we need to find the courage to break out of the circle of our foregone conclusions and to recognize that reality is much greater than we imagine. Lift up your eyes, look around and see. The Lord asks us first to trust in him, because he truly cares for everyone. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he provide for us? (cf. Lk 12:28). If we lift up our eyes to the Lord, and consider all things in his light, we will see that he never abandons us. The Word became flesh (cf. Jn 1:14) and remains with us always, for all time (cf. Mt 28:20). Always.

When we lift up our eyes to God, life’s problems do not go away, no; instead we feel certain that the Lord grants us the strength to deal with them. The first step towards an attitude of worship, then, is to “lift up our eyes”. Our worship is that of disciples who have found in God a new and unexpected joy. Worldly joy is based on wealth, success or similar things, always with ourselves at the centre. The joy of Christ’s disciples, on the other hand, is based on the fidelity of God, whose promises never fail, whatever the crises we may face. Filial gratitude and joy awaken within us a desire to worship the Lord, who remains ever faithful and never abandons us.

The second helpful phrase is to set out on a journey. Before they could worship the Child in Bethlehem, the Magi had to undertake a lengthy journey. Matthew tells us that in those days “wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying: ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him’” (Mt 2:1-2). A journey always involves a transformation, a change. After a journey, we are no longer the same. There is always something new about those who have made a journey: they have learned new things, encountered new people and situations, and found inner strength amid the hardships and risks they met along the way. No one worships the Lord without first experiencing the interior growth that comes from embarking on a journey.

With the passage of time, life’s trials and difficulties– experienced in faith–help to purify our hearts, making them humbler and thus more and more open to God.

We become worshipers of the Lord through a gradual process. Experience teaches us, for example, that at fifty we worship differently than we did at thirty. Those who let themselves be shaped by grace usually improve with time: on the outside, we grow older – so Saint Paul tells us – while our inner nature is being renewed each day (cf. 2 Cor 4:16), as we grow in our understanding of how best to worship the Lord. From this point of view, our failures, crises and mistakes can become learning experiences: often they can help us to be more aware that the Lord alone is worthy of our worship, for only he can satisfy our innermost desire for life and eternity. With the passage of time, life’s trials and difficulties – experienced in faith – help to purify our hearts, making them humbler and thus more and more open to God. Even our sins, the awareness of being sinners, of experiencing such bad things. “But I did this... I did...”: if you approach it with faith and repentance, with contrition, it will help you to grow. Paul says that everything can help us to grow spiritually, to encounter Jesus, even our sins. And Saint Thomas adds: “etiam mortalia”, even the bad sins, the worst. But if you respond with repentance it will help you on this journey towards encountering the Lord and to worship him better.

Like the Magi, we too must allow ourselves to learn from the journey of life, marked by the inevitable inconveniences of travel. We cannot let our weariness, our falls and our failings discourage us. Instead, by humbly acknowledging them, we should make them opportunities to progress towards the Lord Jesus. Life is not about showing off our abilities, but a journey towards the One who loves us. We are not to show off our virtues in every step of our life; rather, with humility we should journey towards the Lord. By keeping our gaze fixed on the Lord, we will find the strength needed to persevere with renewed joy.

And so we come to the third phrase: to see. To lift up our eyes; to set out on a journey; to see. The Evangelist tells us that, “going into the house they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him” (Mt 2:10-11). Worshiping was an act of homage reserved for sovereigns and high dignitaries. The Magi worshiped the One they knew was the king of the Jews (cf. Mt 2:2). But what did they actually see? They saw a poor child and his mother. Yet these wise men from far-off lands were able to look beyond those lowly surroundings and recognize in that Child a royal presence. They were able to “see” beyond appearances. Falling to their knees before the Babe of Bethlehem, they expressed a worship that was above all interior: the opening of the treasures they had brought as gifts symbolized the offering of their own hearts.

To worship the Lord we need to “see” beyond the veil of things visible, which often prove deceptive. Herod and the leading citizens of Jerusalem represent a worldliness enslaved to appearances and immediate attractions. They see, yet they cannot see. It is not that they do not believe, no; it is that they do not know how to see because they are slaves to appearances and seek what is attractive. They value only the sensational, the things that capture the attention of the masses. In the Magi, however, we see a very different approach, one we can define as theological realism – a very “high” word, yet helpful – a way of perceiving the objective reality of things and leads to the realization that God shuns all ostentation. The Lord is in humility, he is like that humble child, who shuns that ostentation which is precisely the product of worldliness. A way of “seeing” that transcends the visible and makes it possible for us to worship the Lord who is often hidden in everyday situations, in the poor and those on the fringes. A way of seeing things that is not impressed by sound and fury, but seeks in every situation the things that truly matter, and that seeks the Lord. With Saint Paul, then, let us “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18).

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

May the Lord Jesus make us true worshipers, capable of showing by our lives his loving plan for all humanity. Let us ask for the grace for each of us and for the whole Church, to learn to worship, to continue to worship, to exercise this prayer of adoration often, because only God is to be adored.

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FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD 25th WORLD DAY FOR CONSECRATED LIFE

EUCHARISTIC CONCELEBRATION WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE AND THE SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS Vatican Basilica Tuesday, 2 February 2021

[ Multimedia ]

Simeon, so Saint Luke tells us, “looked forward to the consolation of Israel” ( Lk 2:25).  Going up to the Temple as Mary and Joseph were bringing Jesus there, he took the Messiah into his arms. The one who recognized in that Child the light that came to shine on the Gentiles was an elderly man who had patiently awaited the fulfilment of the Lord’s promises.

The patience of Simeon . Let us take a closer look at that old man’s patience. For his entire life, he had been waiting, exercising the patience of the heart. In his prayer, Simeon had learned that God does not come in extraordinary events, but works amid the apparent monotony of our daily life, in the frequently dull rhythm of our activities, in the little things that, working with tenacity and humility, we achieve in our efforts to do his will. By patiently persevering, Simeon did not grow weary with the passage of time. He was now an old man, yet the flame still burned brightly in his heart. In his long life, there had surely been times when he had been hurt, disappointed, yet he did not lose hope. He trusted in the promise, and did not let himself be consumed by regret for times past or by the sense of despondency that can come as we approach the twilight of our lives. His hope and expectation found expression in the daily patience of a man who, despite everything, remained watchful, until at last “his eyes saw the salvation” that had been promised (cf. Lk 2:30).

I ask myself: where did Simeon learn such patience? It was the born of prayer and the history of his people, which had always seen in the Lord “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and fidelity” ( Ex 34:6). He recognized the Father who, even in the face of rejection and infidelity, never gives up, but remains “patient for many years” (cf. Neh 9:30), constantly holding out the possibility of conversion.

The patience of Simeon is thus a mirror of God’s own patience . From prayer and the history of his people, Simeon had learned that God is indeed patient. By that patience, Saint Paul tells us, he “leads us to repentance” ( Rom 2:4). I like to think of Romano Guardini, who once observed that patience is God’s way of responding to our weakness and giving us the time we need to change (cf. Glaubenserkenntnis , Würzburg, 1949, 28). More than anyone else, the Messiah, Jesus, whom Simeon held in his arms, shows us the patience of God, the merciful Father who keeps calling us, even to our final hour. God, who does not demand perfection but heartfelt enthusiasm, who opens up new possibilities when all seems lost, who wants to open a breach in our hardened hearts, who lets the good seed grow without uprooting the weeds. This is the reason for our hope: that God never tires of waiting for us. When we turn away, he comes looking for us; when we fall, he lifts us to our feet; when we return to him after losing our way, he waits for us with open arms. His love is not weighed in the balance of our human calculations, but unstintingly gives us the courage to start anew. This teaches us resilience, the courage always to start again, each day. Always to start over after our falls. God is patient.

Let us look to our patience . Let us look to the patience of God and the patience of Simeon as we consider our own lives of consecration. We can ask ourselves what patience really involves. Certainly it is not simply about tolerating difficulties or showing grim determination in the face of hardship. Patience is not a sign of weakness, but the strength of spirit that enables us to “carry the burden”, to endure, to bear the weight of personal and community problems, to accept others as different from ourselves, to persevere in goodness when all seems lost, and to keep advancing even when overcome by fatigue and listlessness.

Let me point to three “settings” in which patience can become concrete.

The first is our personal life . There was a time when we responded to the Lord’s call, and with enthusiasm and generosity offered our lives to him. Along the way, together with consolations we have had our share of disappointments and frustrations. At times, our hard work fails to achieve the desired results, the seeds we sow seem not to bear sufficient fruit, the ardour of our prayer cools and we are not always immune to spiritual aridity. In our lives as consecrated men and women, it can happen that hope slowly fades as a result of unmet expectations. We have to be patient with ourselves and await in hope God’s own times and places, for he remains ever faithful to his promises. This is the foundation stone: he is true to his promises. Remembering this can help us retrace our steps and revive our dreams, rather than yielding to interior sadness and discouragement. Brothers and sisters, in us consecrated men and women, interior sadness is a worm, a worm that eats us from within. Flee from interior sadness!

A second setting in which patience can become concrete is community life . We all know that human relationships are not always serene, especially when they involve sharing a project of life or apostolic activity. There are times when conflicts arise and no immediate solution can be expected, nor should hasty judgements be made. Time is required to step back, to preserve peace and to wait for a better time to resolve situations in charity and in truth. Let us not allow ourselves to be flustered by tempests. In the Breviary, for tomorrow’s Office of Readings, there is a fine passage on spiritual discernment by Diodochus of Photice. He says: “A tranquil sea allows the fisherman to gaze right to its depths. No fish can hide there and escape his sight. The stormy sea, however, becomes murky when it is agitated by the winds”. We will never be able to discern well, to see the truth, if our hearts are agitated and impatient. Never. Our communities need this kind of reciprocal patience: the ability to support, that is, to bear on our own shoulders, the life of one of our brothers or sisters, including his or her weaknesses and failings, all of them. Let us keep in mind that the Lord does not call us to be soloists – we know there are many in the Church – no, we are not called to be soloists but to be part of a choir that can sometimes miss a note or two, but must always try to sing in unison.

Finally, a third setting is our relationship with the world . Simeon and Anna cherished the hope proclaimed by the prophets, even though it is slow to be fulfilled and grows silently amid the infidelities and ruins of our world. They did not complain about how wrong things are, but patiently looked for the light shining in the darkness of history. To look for the light shining in the darkness of history; to look for the light shining in the darkness of our own communities. We too need that kind of patience, so as not to fall into the trap of complaining. Some people are masters of complaining, doctors of complaining, they are very good at complaining! No, complaining imprisons us: “the world no longer listens to us” – how often do we hear that - or “we have no more vocations, so we have to close the house”, or “these are not easy times” – “ah, don’t tell me!...”. And so the duet of complaints begins. It can happen that even as God patiently tills the soil of history and our own hearts, we show ourselves impatient and want to judge everything immediately: now or never, now, now, now. In this way, we lose that “small” but most beautiful of virtues: hope. I have seen many consecrated men and women who lose hope, simply through impatience.

Patience helps us to be merciful in the way we view ourselves, our communities and our world. In our own lives, do we welcome the patience of the Holy Spirit? In our communities, do we bear with one another and radiate the joy of fraternal life? In the world, do we patiently offer our service, or issue harsh judgements? These are real challenges for our consecrated life: we cannot remain stuck in nostalgia for the past or simply keep repeating the same old things or everyday complaints. We need patience and courage in order to keep advancing, exploring new paths, and responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And to do so with humility and simplicity, without great propaganda or publicity.

Let us contemplate God’s patience and implore the trusting patience of Simeon and of Anna. In this way, may our eyes, too, see the light of salvation and bring that light to the whole world, just as these two elderly individuals did in their words of praise.

At the end of Holy Mass, the Holy Father offered the following words * :

Please be seated.

I would like to thank the Cardinal for his words which are the expression of all, of all the concelebrants and of all the assistants. We are few: this Covid puts us in a corner but we bear this with patience. It takes patience. And keep advancing, offering our lives to the Lord.

That young religious woman who had just entered the novitiate was happy… She found a kind, holy, elderly religious woman… “How are you?” — “This is paradise, Mother!”, says the young woman. “Wait a little; there is purgatory”. Consecrated life, community life: there is a purgatory, but it takes patience to carry on.

I would like to point out two things that may help: please flee from gossip. What kills community life is gossip. Do not speak ill  of others. “It is not easy, Father, because sometimes it comes from the heart!”. Yes, it comes from the heart, it comes from envy, it comes from many capital sins that we have within. To flee. “But tell me Father, is there not some medicine? Prayer, kindness…?”  Yes, there is a medicine which is very “homemade”: bite your tongue. Before speaking ill of others, bite your tongue so that it will swell and fill up your mouth and you will be unable to speak badly. Please, flee from gossip which destroys a community!

And then, the other thing that I suggest for community life: there are always many things that do not go well. From the superior, the consultor, the other one… There are always things we do not like, right? Do not lose your sense of humour, please: this helps us so much. It is the anti-gossip: to know how to laugh at oneself, at situations and also at others  with a good heart,  but do not lose your sense of humour. And fleeing from gossip. What I am suggesting now is not very clerical advice, let us say, but it is human: it is human in order to carry on with patience. Never speak ill of others: bite your tongue. And then, do not lose your sense of humour: it will greatly help us.

Thank you for what you do, thank you for your witness. Thank you, many thanks for  your difficulties, for how you bear with them and for the great suffering due to the lack of vocations. Go forth, take courage: the Lord is greater, the Lord loves us. Let us follow the Lord!

*L'Osservatore Romano , Weekly edition in English, 5 February 2021.

Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Roman Catholic Reflections and Homilies

Roman Catholic Reflections

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Epiphany of the lord. year b - sunday, january 3, 2021 - (episode: 271).

homily for presentation of the lord 2021

Epiphany of the Lord. Year B - Sunday, January 3, 2021

(EPISODE: 271 ) Readings for Epiphany of the Lord. Year B FIRST READING: Isa 60:1-6 Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13 . " Lord, every nation on earth will adore you. " SECOND READING: Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6 GOSPEL ACCLAMATION ( Matt 2:2 ). Alleluia, alleluia! We have seen his star in the East; and have come to adore the Lord. GOSPEL: Matt 2:1-12 Image - Shutterstock licensed Image: ID: 121108219. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - OCTOBER 17, 2018: The fresco of Adoration of Magi the in church Kostel Svatého Cyrila Metodeje by Petr Maixner (1872). By Renata Sedmakov ++++ Please listen to the audio-recordings of the Mass – (Readings, prayers and homily), for Epiphany of the Lord. Year B - Sunday, January 3, 2021, by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-the-epiphany-year-b-episode-271/s-CjHDcpPIZ2I   (EPISODE: 271 ) +++++ * PROLOGUE - This feast of the Epiphany, and the accompanying readings for this weekend, reveal Jesus Christ to be the King of all heaven and earth, and the "light" to all nations and cultures. "Epiphany is a Greek word meaning "manifestation." In ancient times, the term referred to an official visit by a King or Queen. This is a public presentation or showing to the people of a sovereign. According to our first reading, the qualities of the Diving King are justice, right-judgement, care for the poor, "a person who establishes peace", a person with great concern for the needy, and who has compassion for the weak. The Divine King is the saver of the lives of the poor.   When we look at the gospel, (Not every King got a "present" in today's story…  not every king got what they wanted….  But they all got what they deserved…..). For, there are two kings featured in the gospel this weekend -  Christ and Herod. The wise men met both Kings.  To Herod, they gave a respectful ear, but they did not worship him, and rightly so, and did not return to inform him of what they found. They 'listened to what the King had to say, but (through inspiration), they did not give King Herod what he wanted but rather, they returned to their own country by a 'different way'.  We are all called to listen and reflect and ponder and then, with God's inspiration discern what is the right thing to do. Sometimes the right thing to do is to NOT give someone what they ask or demand.   In what ways can we let the light of Christ shine out to all those we meet?   (Fr. Paul Kelly) +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Homily -  Fr Peter Dillon: Christmas, like a diamond, has many facets.  It is a bloom which unfolds over the twelve days that we call Christmastide. There is a song about the twelve days of Christmas. The twelfth night is the feast of Epiphany – meaning manifestation . Literally, the super-showing which reveals all the facets of this diamond of Jesus' presence amongst us. With faith-polarised glasses, you can read the signs of God's love throughout the whole human story. For Christians, Jesus is the sign par excellence . Jesus, in turn, uses signs to point to his part in God's plan. Take John's story of the marriage feast of Cana. Jesus turns the Jewish Water of Purification into the wine of the new banquet God has planned for us. And in case we think this just a good party trick the narrator tells us that "Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory". Look behind the story and you will see God's glory – shared by Jesus. God is revealing his plan for us. This story dramatizes that plan. Jesus is the medium. A classic example of the medium being the message. It is an epiphany . The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist is another facet of epiphany. Mark's gospel tells us that " when Jesus came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.   And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased'."  Mark makes this an epiphany for Jesus. Matthew and Luke extend that epiphany to us. That is why we used to celebrate Jesus' baptism on the feast of the Epiphany. Matthew's gospel is the most dramatic presentation of an epiphany. Wise men come from the East searching for the child who is born King of the Jews. By the time Matthew wrote his gospel the Jesus Movement had spread to the four corners. The East was Syria, Iraq (Mesopotamia) where the action was. The whole world was starting to believe and follow. These wise men are astrologers. They study the heavens.  Spotting a new star, they conclude that something portentous is at work. They bring gifts: gold for a king, frankincense for God and myrrh to embalm a body. With faith-tinted glasses they have spotted the epiphany that King Herod has missed. They even know that jeopardy is part of the story. What does the story mean? The storyteller uses the details of the story to get his reader to understand his main point. Matthew believes that it is fantastic that the whole world is getting the message that God is looking out for them. Luke has the same objective when he tells his story of the first Pentecost. The point of the story is true –The storyteller's wish is that you might come to see it as clearly as he does. Two men looked out through the prison bars; one saw mud, the other saw stars. It is how we look on our experience that makes the difference. Herod saw mud. The Eastern Sages saw stars. No faith - nothing to see. But a questing look reveals facets of this diamond which is life flood-lit by love. You only get to know what was bubbling under the surface when the supernova erupts. That's a real epiphany worth waiting for. Matthew is the only gospel which gives us the story of the 'Three Wise Men'. He is using it to stress the im­portance of Christ's good news for non-Jewish people, the gentiles or pagans as Paul refers to them in toda­y's second reading. Matthe­w's community was strongly Jewish and still loyal to the synagogue. They still regarded Jesus as their possession. They had not understood what St Paul said in his letter to the Ephesi­ans: 'This mystery... was unknown to any men and women in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Christ Jesus, through the gospel. In the seventh century, Persians invade Holy Land and destroyed all the churc­hes including the Holy Sepu­lchre. The only one spared was the Basilica of the Na­tivity at Bethlehem - the Persians found there a rep­resentation of the visit of the Magi and they recognised their dress as similar to the Persian mode. At least posthumously the Magi for­warded the cause of Christ.   Our gospel tells us noth­ing of these wise people except that they return to their own country by a dif­ferent route to avoid Herod. Scholars who remained si­lent. It was the humble Apo­stles who had the startling success in spreading the good news about Jesus. They had to face up to the so­phistication of the Greek world and the practical l­ogi­cality of the Romans. Yet the power of Christ worked through them. We too in fai­thfully following Christ's values can overcome the in­difference of our sophisti­cated world. Has our celebration of Christmas made a difference to our way of living? Has it made us keen to manifest Christ as we resume our lif­estyle af­ter the Christmas break? Did our Christmas include a good Confession and are our reso­lutions from that encounter with Christ bearing fruit in our life now? Particularly in our manifesting Christ to others through our part in the community of the Church. May all of us experience and hear these words as we jour­ney to find Christ.    +++++ References: HOMILY – FR PETER DILLON PROLOGUE - Fr Paul W. Kelly [ii] Celebrating the Gospels. By Gaynell Cronin, 2. [iii] Vision – Praying Scripture in a Contemporary Way. Year A. Mark Link S.J., 55 [iv] Abbot Philip: Monastery of Christ in the Desert. http://christdesert.org Image - Shutterstock licensed Image: ID: 121108219. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - OCTOBER 17, 2018: The fresco of Adoration of Magi the in church Kostel Svatého Cyrila Metodeje by Petr Maixner (1872). By Renata Sedmakov Epiphany of the Lord. Year B   ( Sunday, January 3, 2021 )  (EPISODE: 271 ) +++++++++++++ Happy New Year!     {{ Shalom (peace) } to you all….} Welcome as we gather – On this Feast of the Epiphany,….  (The revealing of Christ as the light to the World)…. To offer our praise, worship and intercessions to our loving God. Our God's love and mercy knows no bounds, and so let us recall our sins so as to worthily celebrate this Holy Sacrifice. Lord Jesus, the nations of the world are drawn to your light. Lord have mercy. You are the radiant star of justice. Christ have mercy. You are the first fruits of the nations. Lord have mercy May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen. +++++++++++++++++++++ Memorial Acclamation 3. Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ PREFACE: Epiphany EP II Communion side.  pwk:  RH (theme variation: 2 ) (pre+post variation: 1 ) ++++ {Thanks everyone.  I hope you have had a wonderful start to the new year.  May god's guidance, peace and compassion be with us along the journey of 2021}. The Lord Be with you (let us bow our heads and pray for God's blessing) May God, who has called you out of darkness into his wonderful light, pour out in kindness his blessing upon you and make your hearts firm in faith, hope and charity. Amen. And since in all confidence you follow Christ, who today appeared in the world, as a light shining in darkness, may God make you, too, a light for your brothers and sisters. Amen. And so when your pilgrimage is ended, may you come to him whom the Magi sought as they followed the star and whom they found with great joy, the Light from Light, who is Christ the Lord. Amen. And may the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit, come down on you and remain with you for ever. Amen. Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. ++++++++ Archive of homilies and reflections:   http://homilycatholic.blogspot.com.au To contact Fr. Paul, please email:  [email protected] To listen to my weekly homily audio podcast, please click this link here. NB - It is often a week or so Ahead:  https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/tracks You are welcome to subscribe to Fr Paul's homily mail-out by sending an email to this address: [email protected] Further information relating to the audio productions linked to this Blog: "Faith, Hope and Love - Christian worship and reflection"  - Led by Rev Paul Kelly Prayers and chants  — Roman Missal, 3rd edition, © 2010, The International Commission on English in the liturgy. (ICEL) Scriptures - New Revised Standard Version: © 1989,  and 2009 by the NCC-USA. (National Council of Churches of Christ - USA) "The Psalms" ©1963, 2009,  The Grail - Collins publishers. Prayers of the Faithful -   " Together we pray" by Robert Borg'.   E.J. Dwyer, Publishers, (1993) . (Sydney Australia). Sung "Mass In Honour of St. Ralph Sherwin" -  By Jeffrey M. Ostrowski. The Gloria,  Copyright © 2011 ccwatershed.org . Christmas Hymn - "Word Made Flesh" by Paul W. Kelly. Based upon: John's Gospel 1:14,  1 John 4:9 , & Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7. (Written on 8/5/20; 10/9/20).  Arranged and sung by Stefan Kelk, with adjusted lyrics.  2020. https://www.airgigs.com/user/stefankelk Traditional hymn: "We Three Kings," performed by the Bobby Cole Chamber Choir, licensed via Shockwave-Sound.com ( https://www.shockwave-sound.com ) [ Production -  KER -  2021] May God bless and keep you. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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  1. Homily for February 2, 2021

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  2. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord 2021

    Patience is God's response to our weakness. In his homily during Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica on Tuesday, 2 February [2021], Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the 25th World Day of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis offered the example of Simeon's patience to emphasize the importance of patience in the various settings of our lives ...

  3. HOMILY FOR THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD YEAR B

    HOMILY FOR THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD YEAR B. Posted on February 1, 2021 by admin. 01 Feb. Malachi 3:1-4/Psalm 24:7,8,9,10/Hebrews 2:14-18/Luke 2:22-40. Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple. which occurs forty days after our celebration of the birth of Jesus. The Holy family made a journey from Bethlehem to ...

  4. Presentation of the Lord.

    A Roman Catholic homily for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2, 2021, in Year B of the Liturgical Year. ... of the website! Back to the homilies index. Back to the main webpage. Tuesday: Presentation of the Lord. Date: February 2, 2021. Year: B The readings: [Mal. 3:1-4 (OR Heb. 2:10-11, 13b-18); Lk. 2:22-40] The message ...

  5. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

    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 ...

  6. Pope: Patience is a hallmark of consecrated men and women

    Pope Francis celebrates a Vigil Mass on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which is observed as the World Day of Consecrated Life. In his homily, the Pope invites religious men and women to be patient and courageous in order to keep advancing, exploring new paths, and responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

  7. Reflections for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

    Introduction: This feast commemorates how Jesus, as a baby, was presented to God in the Temple in Jerusalem.This presentation finds its complete and perfect fulfillment in the mystery of the passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord. The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a combined feast, commemorating the Jewish practice of the purification of the mother after childbirth and the ...

  8. Pope's homily: full text from feast of the Presentation of the Lord

    By Vatican Radio. February 2, 2017. On Thursday, Pope Francis celebrated a solemn Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and also commemorated the 21st annual World Day for Consecrated Life. In his homily for the Mass, the Holy Father called on consecrated women and men to "accompany Jesus as He goes forth to meet His people, to ...

  9. Pope Francis' Reflection Homily on The Presentation of Our Lord

    Good Morning, Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: when the infant Jesus was presented in the Temple by the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. Today is also World Day of Consecrated Life which recalls the great treasure in the Church of those who follow the Lord assiduously, by professing the evangelical counsels.

  10. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

    February 2; Mal 3:1-4; Heb 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40 (2:22-32) The Presentation in the Temple; OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Fr. Anthony Kadavil 2021 Feb 2 2021 Tuesday (The Presentation of the Lord). The context: Today's Gospel presents the head of the Holy Family, Joseph, faithfully obeying God's law given through Moses concerning the purification of the mother and the redeeming of the child by ...

  11. World Day for Consecrated Life

    XXV World Day for Consecrated Life - Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (2 February 2021) [ Arabic - English - French - German - Italian - Polish - Portuguese - Spanish ] XXIV World Day For Consecrated Life - Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (1 February 2020)

  12. Reflection for the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple

    Reflection for the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple - 2nd February 2021 Reflections Archive Liturgical time is a strange thing - we have gone from the infant in his mother's arms to the adult Jesus bursting upon the world with signs and wonders in Galilee in the space of a few weeks, and now once more he is the babe in ...

  13. Pope Francis' homily for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

    Feast of the Presentation of the Lord 25th World Day for Consecrated Life Tuesday, 2 February 2021. Simeon, so Saint Luke tells us, "looked forward to the consolation of Israel" ( Lk 2:25). Going up to the Temple as Mary and Joseph were bringing Jesus there, he took the Messiah into his arms. The one who recognized in that Child the light ...

  14. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

    The Lord Jesus' first entry into the temple sets the tone for this whole week, which begins with today's great Feast of the Presentation. All week we will reflect on Jesus who comes as the "light for revelation.". As Pope Benedict says, his Presentation in the temple "contains the fundamental symbol of light; the light that comes from ...

  15. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

    Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Posted on February 3, 2021 by justmehomely. February 2. Mal 3:1-4; Heb 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40 (2:22-32) The Presentation in the Temple. OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from OCarm. 2021 Tuesday, February 2, 2021 Luke 2: 22-40. The Presentation of the Child in the Temple.

  16. Pope Francis' homily for the Presentation of the Lord and World Day for

    Yesterday evening in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This feast, also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Candlemas, has been celebrated for hundreds of years on February 2 - that is, 40 days after Christmas.Because this is also the feast during which we remember the witness of ...

  17. The Significance of the Presentation of the Lord

    In old days, the Presentation was often referred to as "Candlemas" and was celebrated by a candle-lit procession into the church, signifying Christ as the "light of nations.". Known originally as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a relatively ancient celebration.

  18. Homily for The Feast of The Presentation of Our Lord. Candelmas Day

    February 3, 2021. HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD. CANDELMAS DAY. On this Feast Joseph and Mary went to the Temple in order to fulfil the requirements of the Jewish law. Essential to the Jewish religion was the praise of God in all of human life. They received God's blessing through Simeon and Anna.

  19. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

    The Presentation in the Temple; OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Fr. Martin Hogan. 2021 2nd February 2021>> Fr. Martin's Gospel Reflections / Homilies on Luke 2:22-40 for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: 'My eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations'. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

  20. HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

    HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS. St. Peter's Basilica. Sunday, 24 January 2021. [ Multimedia] [ Archbishop Rino Fisichella read the homily Pope Francis had prepared for the occasion] On this Sunday of the Word, let us listen to Jesus as he proclaims the Kingdom of God. Let us consider what he says and to whom he says it.

  21. Pope Francis Epiphany homily: The magi teach us that worshiping Jesus

    Below is the text of Pope Francis' homily, delivered on Jan. 6, 2021, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. To receive these remarks and more in your inbox every week, sign up for America's ...

  22. XXV World Day for Consecrated Life

    FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD 25th WORLD DAY FOR CONSECRATED LIFE . ... HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS Vatican Basilica Tuesday, 2 February 2021 . Simeon, so Saint Luke tells us, "looked forward to the consolation of Israel" (Lk 2:25). Going up to the Temple as Mary and Joseph were bringing Jesus there, he took the Messiah into ...

  23. Epiphany of the Lord. Year B

    Lord Jesus, the nations of the world are drawn to your light. Lord have mercy. You are the radiant star of justice. Christ have mercy. You are the first fruits of the nations. Lord have mercy May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen. +++++ Memorial Acclamation 3.