Presentation of the Lord (February 2, 2017)
In today’s Gospel we experience Mary and Joseph presenting the infant Jesus, the son of God, in the Temple. St. Francis de Sales notes:
The Eastern Rite calls this feast the “Presentation of the Son of God in the Temple,” because on this day Mary and Joseph went up to Jerusalem to present the only Son of God in the Temple of God. On this occasion, we encounter different types of persons found in the Church of God coming together. In the Temple, with Mary and Joseph, we find Simeon and Anna, a prophetess and widow, both good and faithful servants, and Our Lord, who is God and man. (Sermons 2:172-3)
On this day the Son of God is offered to His Father. This offering is beautifully represented with lighted candles to remind us of when Mary entered the Temple carrying in her arms her Son, who is Light of the world. Today when Christians carry lighted candles in their hands it is to testify that if it were possible they would carry Our Lord in their arms as did Mary and Simeon. (Sermons 2:173)
The glorious St. Simeon was very happy to carry the Savior in his arms. We can bear Him on our shoulders if we willingly endure and suffer with a good heart all that it pleases God to send us, however difficult and heavy be the charge and burden that God places upon our shoulder, like some saints. (Sermons, 2:187)
We can carry Our Savior in our arms as St. Simeon and Mary did. We do this when we endure with love the labors and pains He sends us, that is to say, when the love that we bear makes us find God’s yoke easy and pleasing, so that we love these pains and labors, gather sweetness in the midst of bitterness. If we carry Him this way, He will, without doubt, Himself carry us. (Sermons, 2:188)
Oh, how happy we shall be if we allow ourselves to be carried by this dear Lord, and if we carry Him on our shoulders and in our arms, abandoning ourselves entirely to Him and letting Him lead us where He pleases! Leave yourselves, then, in the arms of His Divine Providence, submitting yourselves in what concerns His Law and disposing yourselves to endure all the pains and suffering that may come to you in this life. When you have done this you will find that the hardest and most painful things will be rendered sweet and agreeable to you, and you will share the happiness experienced by St. Simeon and Anna, the prophetess. Try only to imitate them in this life and you will bless the Savior and be blessed by Him in Heaven, together with these glorious saints. (Sermons, 2:188)
In imitating Simeon and Anna, we will be able to see beyond the vicissitudes of our present life and experience the reign of God in our midst.