Scripture: 1st Reading: Malachi3,1-4; Resp. Psalm: Ps24,7-10; 2nd Reading: Heb2,14-18; Gosp. Accl.: Lk2,32; Gospel: Lk2,22-40
He is the Lord of Hosts! He is the King of glory. Let the gates lift high their heads. Let the ancient doors grow higher. Let the King of glory enter. He is the Lord, the mighty and valiant. He is the valiant One in war, the Lord of Hosts, the King of glory. Let Him enter into His Temple so that His people would see His glory and encounter Him to be blessed by Him.
Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the temple. Forty days after the birth of the male child, the parents would bring the child to the temple to present him to Yahweh and offer the prescribed sacrifice. The presentation was a religious ceremony of dedicating the child to God. It also served as the Feast of purification for the mother after the birth of her child.
As observant and faithful Jews, our Blessed Mother Mary and St. Joseph brought the Child Jesus to the temple for this important ceremony to fulfill all righteousness. This was because the mother of this child was without sin before, during and after the birth of her divine Child and so had no need for purification. The Child had no need for dedication because He was the only Begotten Son of God.
At that encounter in the temple, the parents of our Lord met two people who had waited all their lives for the dawn of today's event: Simeon and Anna. It was revealed to Simeon that he would not see death until he had set his eyes on the Lord's Christ. He saw our Lord and declared that it was time for him to die and go back to the Lord since his eyes had seen the salvation that Yahweh had prepared in the presence of all peoples.
On that occasion, Simeon referred to our Lord as the "light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." Anna, who had been in temple fasting and praying day and night for years to be able to see this day, "coming up at that very hour... gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem."
The coming of the Lord to the temple today had been foretold by prophet Malachi in today's first reading. The messenger would go before Him to prepare the way. This messenger was John the Baptist. The Lord, the messenger of the covenant, the delight of the nations, came into His temple. He is like a refiner's fire and the fuller's soap. He would come to purify the peoples from their sins and restore them back to God. Then the offerings of the people's would become acceptable once again before God.
The Lord who came into the temple today partook of our nature but without sin. He took our nature in order to redeem it. When He died in our mortal flesh, He destroyed the contagion, put an end to death by putting death to death, and restored life to us. He put the devil to shame by destroying his power to make us fall into sin and lead us to death. This was why the Lord Jesus "had to be made like His brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people."
The Feast of the Purification reminds us that our salvation was meticulously planned by God. It reminds us that generations of very faithful men and women longed for the dawning of these events. It recalls us to the need for us to live the implications of our baptismal consecration in all fidelity all the days of our lives. May we be able to do this. May we never again fall into the trap of satan who was vanquished for our sake.
Let us pray: "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." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.