The Presentation in the Temple,
Painted by Elizabeth Wang (1942-2016),
Painted in 2010,
Watercolour on paper
© Code R-60102-CW, Elizabeth Wang / Radiant Light

The Presentation in the Temple,
Painted by Elizabeth Wang (1942-2016),
Painted in 2010,
Watercolour on paper
© Code R-60102-CW, Elizabeth Wang / Radiant Light

Gospel of 2 February 2024

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Luke 2:22-32

When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared for all the nations to see,

a light to enlighten the pagans

and the glory of your people Israel.’

Reflection on the Watercolour on Paper

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Together with Simeon and Anna we contemplate the Christ Child, the Word made flesh, who is brought to the Temple. That temple is not just the physical building but also the temple of our souls--that sacred space that is inside each of us. Today on this feast Christ is also presented to each of us, and it is up to us to open our doors and let his radiant light in.

Today, forty days after the Lord's birth, we celebrate the coming of the Light of the World. This light is beautifully depicted by the yellow colour tonalities in our watercolour by Elizabeth Wang. We see the Holy Family from the back, about to walk up the steps, being greeted by Anna on the left and Simeon on the right. Note the smaller halo of Jesus in the arms of his mother set against her own halo. Beside the temple gate we see Anna on the left pointing towards the inside of the temple, whilst Simeon on the right has his arms outstretched, welcoming the Holy Family.

At the centre of today’s gospel reading are two elderly people, Simeon and Anna. They were both blessed with the gift of recognition or insight. Both recognized the true identity of the child who was carried into the temple by his young parents. Simeon recognized Jesus as the light to enlighten the gentiles and as the glory of Israel. Anna recognised him as the deliverer for whom people had been waiting. They both went on to proclaim to others what they had come to recognize for themselves.  Their gift of recognition was the fruit of their prayer. They were indeed people of prayer. Without prayer they would not have recognised who Jesus truly was! In fact Simeon’s prayer has become part of the Night Prayer of the church, as we recite his words as part of our Divine Office.

The time we spend with the Lord in prayer makes it easier for us to recognise him when he comes to us through other people.

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Elvira
Member
Elvira
26 days ago

From Simeon and from Anna, the elderly couple of the Gospel, we learn a virtue: hope. They had been waiting all their lives to see the Messiah. His end was near but they continued to wait. This is a story that I particularly like now that I am old 👵🏻👴🏻. Can we imagine Simeon praying and waiting, day after day, for what God had promised? Would he feel old and tired? Perhaps so. After he saw the baby Jesus, he told God to let him die in peace. And the old Anne, the widow, devoted her whole life to praying, worshipping and waiting. Both Simeon and Anna were very devoted to God. They expected Him to keep His promise. They were truly faithful to God because they believed that God would be faithful to them and one day they had the joy of holding the Child Jesus in their arms. Perhaps some of us also have some desire that binds him to life, for example, to see all our children situated or placed, to see a son or daughter reconcile with God, to return to the Church, to be able to know the grandchildren …
🙏Let us continue as Simeon and Anna waiting and praying. Hope is the true elixir of eternal youth. It is said: “while there is life there is hope”; but, even more true is the opposite: “while there is hope there is life”.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
26 days ago
Reply to  Elvira

Beautifully expressed Elvira.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
27 days ago

Here, today’s feast is known and celebrated with various names: the Presentation of the Lord, the Purification of Mary, the Feast of Light and the Feast of Candles; all these names express the meaning of the feast. Christ the Light of the world presented by his mother in the Temple comes to illuminate everyone like candles, from which derives the title of the Virgin of the “Candelaria”, patron saint of the Canary Islands. In many parishes parents on this day present babies born in the previous year in a very nice ceremony.
Today’s picture perfectly represents a holiday

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
26 days ago
Reply to  Elvira

Thankyou Elvira- it’s good to hear about how these ancient cutoms survive all over the world!

Elvira
Member
Elvira
26 days ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

👍🏻 It is curious how in each country they have different contents. Very interesting to share traditions

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
27 days ago

This riff may be going off topic, (maybe because I was reading 1 Kings this week). The presentation of Jesus occurred in the Second Temple, depicted in today’s artwork with seven steps, a sacred and symbolic number in the Jewish faith. The Second Temple, constructed in 516 BCE, underwent significant renovations and expansions under Herod the Great, starting around 20 BCE. (King Solomon’s original was destroyed by the Babylonians.)

Lord, help me to grasp and appreciate the vastness of your plans.

Richard
Member
Richard
27 days ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

Please think twice before using “BCE” or “CE.” I know the Christian origin of the terms but those terms have since been co opted by secular humanists (satanists?) to erase Christ from our measure of time. Humans have always measured the passage of years by fixing a point with an important event or personage – so many years after a cataclysm, or in the 10th year in the reign of a ruler. What is the “important event” of the “common era”? Whose birth marks this era? We all know the answer is Christ. “Common Era” says nothing about why we are marking time. It’s all about making sure the next generation never hears the term, Anno Domine and asks, “What’s that?”

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
27 days ago
Reply to  Richard

I like your comment Richard and that was very much my position but I suppose you could say that a Chinese or an Indian who knows nothing of Christ might think dating everything from his birth illogical. Also CE and BCE are still based around this date. AD is a lot nicer though, isn’t it!?

There has, in my lifetime, been a move away from the term ‘Christian’ name. Again, if you aren’t a Christian you can’t really use that phrase. And that refers to the majority of this country’s populace…..

Richard
Member
Richard
26 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

It really doesn’t matter who thinks it’s illogical. It’s a reference point for measuring time and it has been accepted by the entire world. The Chinese, the Jews, the Persians, etc. all have their own cultural calendars but they all accept AD when reckoning time with anyone else in the world.
If you want to use a purely secular time frame, that’s fine, but PICK SOMETHING THAT MARKS YOUR TIME FRAME. If you use the birth of our Lord, then that’s AD and BC. If you don’t want to acknowledge Jesus then tell us WHAT or WHO is defining your “common era.” Using Christ as the reference point but changing the name is intellectually lazy.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
26 days ago
Reply to  Richard

I’m on board with this opinion. 😁

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
26 days ago
Reply to  Richard

Thinking twice.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
27 days ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

I am very interested in history, thank you for the quote, I will read it, and to complete: The second temple of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans under the command of Emperor Titus in 70

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
27 days ago
Reply to  Elvira

General Titus, Elvira. Afterwards made emperor. An extraordinarily violent incident. The Jews themselves burnt the Temple down as they knew they couldn’t hold back six Roman legions any more. That is why the temple was completely demolished as all the gold and silver therein melted and ran down between the blocks of stone and everyone wanted to get at the precious metal.
500 Jews were crucified every day until they surrendered. We learnt all this on our Holy Land pigrimage.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
26 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Thank you for making it clear, Chazbo, when the Roman legions destroyed the Temple, 70 d.C., Titus was not yet emperor, the emperor was his father Vespasian, right?

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
26 days ago
Reply to  Elvira

Sí!

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
27 days ago

These colours remind me of the Ukrainian flag- so today I am going to especially remember the people of that brave country: the little ones, the struggling and probably separated parents, the elderly who have endured so much.

Nothing else to say- my day will be busy but I hope to spread some light as I go along.

Alys Blakeway
Member
Alys Blakeway
27 days ago

This feast is also called Candlemas and last Sunday my church celebrated it with a 🕯 lit procession. I’m sure many of you did so.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
27 days ago
Reply to  Alys Blakeway

I didn’t know this! I remember going to Candlemas when I was young. It is a beautiful and ancient ceremony but, like many, falling into disuse. I prefer Candlemas to ‘The Feast of the Presentstion of the Lord.’ It reminds me of a Polish friend from my childhood who used to proudly tell everyone her middle name was Mary of the Presentation. She is now longer with us sadly. I pray she is at peace.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
27 days ago

Last night I went to hear Mahler’s 4th Symphony in the Festival Hall played by the Philharmonia Orchestra under their very young Finnish conductor. It is one of his quieter reflective works and refers to a child’s vision of life in heaven. The saints are laughing, St Cecilia is responsible for the music and the angels bake the bread! But this is no parody; he wanted this vision to be seriously represented. What would be a present day child’s vision of heaven be!?

In order to get the directorship of the court opera in Vienna, Mahler had to convert to Catholicism from Judaism. He hadn’t been an observant Jew, I don’t know how seriously he took his new faith but there are references to Christian theology in some of his works.

I believe hime to be one of the greatest people to have ever walked this Earth and an emissary from God to brighten our earthly existence.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
27 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

This is so interesting. I am too often oblivious to the religious stories and motivation behind great musical creations. CA is filling that gap for me with the visual arts.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
27 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

You would have a great afternoon, I’m happy for you. Music is the best!!

Mike Baird
Member
Mike Baird
27 days ago

Although today is the Feast of the Presentation I can’t help being drawn to my own presentation, my baptism. I was one year old when baptised in a Presbyterian church. Even though I drifted away to atheism, that indelible mark was upon me. I believe my baptism saved me from mortal sin even during my unbelieving years.

I love to picture my mother and father carrying me, presenting me, to God saying, “This is our beloved son in whom we are well pleased”. God then says, “Me too!”

Thank you Lord for receiving me even while you knew I would deny you.

Saints Simeon and Anna, please pray for me.

Gerard Picozzi
Member
Gerard Picozzi
27 days ago
Reply to  Mike Baird

This is very thought provoking Mike.Thank you for sharing part of your life so humbly.

George K
George K
27 days ago
Reply to  Mike Baird

Beautiful imagery, Mike. Thank you.

I like two thoughts Father Patrick presented today, “it is up to us to open our doors and let his radiant light in.” and “recognise him when he comes to us through other people.” My goal last year was to look for the presence of God in everyone I met. That was a way to let His radiant light in. And then, when I mentioned this to a friend, she responded with, “I think of everyone as God with skin”. Her remark totally changed how I view others.

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