Reflection: Presentation of the Lord

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Ml.3:1-4; Ps.23; 2nd Reading – Heb.2:14-18; Gospel – Lk.2:22-32]

What is unusual about today’s gospel is the insistence of the gospel writer to mention the details of the Law of Moses.  We are told that the family of Joseph, Mary and Jesus were doing what the Law required:

1. They had to be purified

2. They had to consecrate the first-born male to the Lord

3. They had to offer in sacrifice a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons

Three instances where something must be done because it is “required” by the Law of Moses and therefore those who are carrying out these actions are doing it because it is obligatory.

Yet, despite the initial insistence on the importance of observing what the Law of Moses requires, the gospel writer soon shifts his attention to the actions of an upright and devout man called Simeon.  The attention now is not on the Law of Moses, but instead on the Holy Spirit.  We are now told that the Holy Spirit:

1. Rested on Simeon

2. Revealed something to Simeon (i.e. that he will not die until he sees the Christ of the Lord)

3. Prompted Simeon to action (i.e. come to the Temple)

The Holy Spirit is quite different from the Law of Moses.  The Holy Spirit works not because he is obliged to by law, but because He freely chooses to rest on someone, to reveal something to this person and to prompt this same person to do something.  There is a further condition for the Holy Spirit to work and to be effective: He chooses those who, like Simeon, are “upright and devout”.  That person must be predisposed to let the Holy Spirit work in him or her e.g. like Simeon who looked forward to Israel’s comforting.  In fact, the reason why the Holy Spirit rested on Simeon was because he was predisposed to let the Spirit work in him.  Simeon believed what was said about Christ of the Lord.  For Simeon, Jesus was the one to bring the salvation prepared for all nations, the light to enlighten the pagans, the glory of Israel.  Jesus is consecrated to the Lord and therefore belongs to the Lord, and the Lord can in turn do what he thinks fit with him.  In truth this is what Jesus had done.  Jesus let the Father guide him throughout his earthly life and therefore we can say that Jesus fulfilled his consecration to the Lord.  Jesus consumed himself through his consecration and he got it back through the Resurrection.

In our daily life, we too are asked to do what the law requires from us and therefore our obligations.  We have to obey the law because that helps us to live together in harmony.  But we are also asked to make our choices and predispose ourselves to let the Holy Spirit rest on us, reveal the will of God to us and prompt us to action.  Can we really say we are ready to dispose ourselves to the will of the Lord?

“Lord, when your parents presented you in the temple, you continued to manifest yourself through the prophesies of Simeon and others.  Help us to let the Holy Spirit that worked in you, to rest on us, to reveal your will to us and to prompt us to be always ready to do the Father’s will. Thank you Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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