Saturday, February 1, 2020

February 2, Presentation of the Lord in the Temple

As February 2 falls on Sunday this year, we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the temple. "When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses" the Gospel says (Luke 2:22-40), Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord as it is written in the Law of the Lord. An devout old man, Simeon, takes Jesus in his arms. Origen says about this scene:
Simeon in the Temple, Rembrandt  (1669)
... He came there under the prompting of the Spirit of God, for all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. If you too wish to embrace Jesus and enfold him in your arms, strive with all your might to follow the guidance of the Spirit and come to God’s temple. Now, at this moment, you are standing in the temple of the Lord Jesus, which is his Church, the temple built of living stones. When your life and conduct are really worthy of the name of Church, you are standing in the Lord’s temple. 
If, led by the Spirit, you come to the temple, you will find the child Jesus, you will lift him up in your arms and say: “Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace as you promised.” Notice at once that peace is joined to death and dismissal, for Simeon does not say only that he wishes to go, but adds that he wished to go in peace. This is the same promise as was made to blessed Abraham: “You shall go to your ancestors in peace when you have reached a ripe old age.” Who dies in peace? Only the person who has the peace of God which passes all understanding, and which guards the heart of its possessor. Who depart from this world in peace? Only the person who understands that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, and who, being in no way at enmity with God or opposed to him, has acquired and concord through good works, and so is allowed like Abraham to go in peace and join the holy patriarchs.

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