Daily Gospel Reflection: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Bishop Robert Barron
February 2, 2024
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Gospel: Lk 2:22-40
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted —and you yourself a sword will pierce— so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him..
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, our Gospel today celebrates the Presentation of the Lord in the temple. We are meant to understand that the glory of Yahweh is returning to the temple in the arms of Mary and Joseph, thus fulfilling one of the deepest aspirations of Israel’s people.
Now, there is more to this story than the return of the Lord to his temple. The Son of God, having taken to himself a human nature, is presented to the Father, and thereby the human race is brought back online. This little baby is the reconciliation of divinity and humanity, is the very essence of temple sacrifice.
At the climax of his life, this baby, now come of age, would enter the temple again. This time, he would pass judgment on it and declare his own body as the new temple. A few days later, on the cross, he would perform the final temple sacrifice, offering himself to the Father, even as he bore the sins of the human race.
The Presentation of Jesus in the temple, perfected on the cross, is re-presented every time the Mass is celebrated. The Presentation of the Lord goes on now in our churches, in our temples.