Gospel – February 2, 2020 – Luke 2:22-40
When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
–and you yourself a sword will pierce–
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.
Not sure what to do here. Lots of things striking me. Do I reflect on one or many? Do I talk about all or save the rest until Luke rolls around again?
Well, first let’s just talk about Luke and why we’re back in a Cycle C Gospel in Cycle A Gospel year. Two words – one name – Holy Spirit. Luke is always name dropping and the Holy Spirit is the name he drops most. He’s our (gentiles) Apostle. His messages tended to be more positive than Matthew’s and certainly Mark’s.
Ok, let’s look at some other things here.
Today is called the Presentation of the Lord but in reality they are there for the mother’s purification forty days after the birth (forty days comes into play later in the Story of Salvation).
They present two pigeons as the law requires for the poor. The rich are required to present a lamb for sacrifice.
Do you see what happens here? The Presentation of the Lord is the sacrifice of a lamb – The Lamb of God. I love the Bible.
One more thing and I’ll stop on this one.
Simeón knows he will not die until he sees the Salvation of the people. This child he recognizes as the Christ. But notice he actually receives Jesus into his arms like he would a sacrifice (baskets of vegetables etc) brought to the temple.
He then tells Mary, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted–and you yourself a sword will pierce — so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
What he’s saying is that those in power will fall and the lowly will be lifted up – not here, in this world but in the next. The powerful here, their secret thoughts will be revealed – their hearts laid bare. They will be known by their deeds.
And Mary’s heart will be pierced by a sword by where those deeds lead – a sinless sacrifice, a spotless Lamb hanging on a cross.
But the sword has two edges. The other edge is, with his death on the cross, it takes away that fiery sword that was placed at the Gates of Paradise when Adam and Eve were cast out.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…