February 2, 2014: The Presentation of the Lord
Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities
“The sacredness and dignity of human life exists not in isolation, but affirmed through individuals growing in community and seeking together the wellbeing of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”
From Catholic Social Teaching Seven Principles for Life
First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm: 24:7, 8, 9, 10
Second Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Savior…Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the ’light to the nations’ and the ’glory of Israel,’ but also ‘a sign that is spoken against.’ The sword predicted for Mary announces Christ’s perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God has “prepared in the presence of all peoples.” (529)
From the Daily Roman Missal, The Presentation of the Lord
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: no references this week
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What appeared as a normal day at the temple, was extraordinary. While the Law only required purification of the woman after the birth of a child, Luke’s text talks of Mary and Joseph and their purification. They both needed to share the experience, to garner the magnitude of the proclamations made about their son. To look into each other’s eyes with awe, as people coming from a small town, to a place they probably had been before, but with new rituals and new perspectives from carrying a baby in their arms. In essence, their purification was a symbolic cleansing to assume the earthly responsibility for raising the Messiah. To underscore the Messiah came in lowliness, a year old lamb was not offered as a sacrifice, but instead two birds. Normally, the first-born son was redeemed by parents paying five shekels to a priestly family, but this was not necessary as Jesus is the High Priest.
In the temple, Mary and Joseph met two people, Simeon and Anna, representatives of humanity, the sight of all people, that through generations would acknowledge the Messiah. What characterized these two people to infuse belief in their souls? Simeon was righteous and devout. He was a godly man and faith was not an occasional thought. Coming to the temple the Holy Spirit was upon him to open his eyes, mind and heart to what he would encounter. Anna’s faith was nurtured with fasting and prayer.
For us to be at peace and acknowledge Jesus as Lord, our faith must be prioritized and a passion in our lives, not something we do when it is convenient, the situation is ideal or easy. Since Jesus grew up in every-way like us, except sin, he can help us in all aspects of our lives if we are not stubborn, but open and receptive to his mercy, faithfulness and forgiveness. This is a grace not rationed, so one must attempt to be holier than others, but flows in abundance for all seeking to partake. Do we allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten our lives and enhance the presence of God to direct, nurture and sustain our faith? How do we fast from activities, desires or possessions that tug us away from God – take us out of God’s temple, the physical place of church and also our beings as temples of the Holy Spirit? Like Anna, do we pray with intercessions made in the sincerity of conversation between dear friends? With fasting, prayer, indwelling of the Holy Spirit and living faithfully, our lives and priorities are refined, as we see the Messiah before us. Each day becomes extraordinary, when we are not absorbed in the slavery of self-serving priorities, but give thanks to God by our actions and proclaim the Lord is King of Glory.
Individual Reflection: Luke 2:22-40
What social justice ministry could you encourage people that have recently started attending your parish to get involved with, so they can feel part of the community and grow in their faith? Ask to give a welcome to the ministry at new parishioner gatherings or include a brochure about the ministry in the new parishioner welcome folder.
Family Reflection: Malachi 3:1-4
Have each family member share how their faith has been “refined”.
Lord, when our spirits feel drained or wrenched with despair about injustice, energize us to live devoutly. When we feel too busy or distracted draw us near in prayer. Help us to fast with wisdom, so we see you as the Messiah more clearly. Enliven our faith with the Holy Spirit. Thank you King of Glory for being our Messiah that has freed us from the death of sin, to live in the abundance of your mercy. Help us to share these graces in gratitude.
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born January 15, 2014The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern