Read Malachi 3:1-4, Ps. 24:7-10, Hebrews 2:14-18, Luke 2:22-40

“And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.” (Luke 2:34)

Today we recall how Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus to the temple to do for him what the law prescribed. Simeon received the child, blessed them and part of what he said to Mary was that “a sword will pierce through your own soul also.” Honestly, if I was in the shoes of Mary at this point, that is the last thing I would like to hear. Yet, Simon simply spoke as the Spirit directed.  

In Deuteronomy 18:20-22, Moses warned the people of Israel of prophets who lie in the name of God or speak in the name of other gods. Moses noted added that one way to know if the prophet is from God is when what he prophesies come to pass. Even in our day, many false prophets tell lies in the name of God in a bid to tell the people what they like to hear. A prophet is not simply one who predicts the future, a prophet is a person who speaks the truth and is never afraid of saying the truth. 

Our first reading speaks of such a prophet as a messenger whose coming will be like a refiner’s fire purifying our hearts like gold and silver which are made to pass through the fire in other to remove impurities. The sword that Simeon is talking about is a symbol of the sufferings that Mary would have to bear watching Jesus scourged, crucified, and die on the Cross. 

At the Epiphany of Jesus, the wise men presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. The gift of Myrrh carried a deep-seated message – Jesus was born not to live but to die! As myrrh pointed to the Cross so did the sword piercing through Mary’s soul pointed at the Cross. Jesus had not even begun to talk yet but it was certain that He would die, though, for a good cause.  

Archbishop Fulton Sheen in his reflection on the life of Christ, particularly on the fact that He came not to live but to die noted that, just like Christ, the priest who is Persona-Christi is ordained, not to live but to die and to offer his life as a sacrifice for the good of others. 

I think we can also extend this truth to everyone who calls himself or herself a Christian. I mean, if we claim to be like Christ, we must never forget that this world does not belong to us; that we shall all die but more importantly, that we must offer our lives for the good of others. We are born not to live in this world forever but to die so rather than live with the fear of death, we must strive to make our death worthwhile by making the greatest impact possible with our lives. 

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to be humble and docile as you were in following the Law and help me to constantly present my very life to you. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. (The Presentation of the Lord – Feast. Bible Study: Malachi 3:1-4, Ps. 24:7-10, Hebrews 2:14-18, Luke 2:22-40).