Read Malachi 3:1-4, Ps. 24:7-10, Luke 2:22-40
“As it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’, and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:23-24)
The fact that Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the temple to do for him what the law prescribed is very instructive. Mary and Joseph knew already that Jesus is God yet they decided to obey the law thereby presenting God to God. In other words, they knew there was no need to bring the baby Jesus to the temple but in humility, (that is, not wanting to appear like the special ones in their community), they followed the law.
From his very birth, Mary and Joseph trained Jesus to always follow the law. In fact, this was the same attitude of Jesus when he presented himself to John the Baptist for baptism. John the Baptist protested but Jesus insisted. “Let it be done to fulfil all righteousness.” All through his public ministry, whenever Jesus cured the sick, he also insisted that they follow the laid down procedure in the Jewish law.
We live in a country where people feel that since they are wealthy, powerful or influential, the laws of the land no longer apply to them. We must learn from Mary, and Joseph to follow due process. Don’t get carried away with pride, the higher you become, the humbler you should be.
Secondly, in the Presentation of Jesus Christ, we see a kind of epiphany playing out, that is, a manifestation or revelation of the identity of Jesus. While Mary and Joseph were trying to appear like every other regular couple, the Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that this child was the one about him God had promised him to see before going to join his fathers. Simeon spoke gloriously of Jesus. Anna also began to sing praises to God in acknowledgement of Jesus’ divinity.
Thirdly, Simeon was courageous enough to tell Mary the truth about Jesus Christ and also added the phrase about a sword piercing through her heart. Simeon’s prophecy came to pass when Mary had to behold her beloved son, Jesus, on the cross. Like the symbol of myrrh at the epiphany, Simon’s words once again point to the cross. Indeed, we can say that Jesus did not come to live but to die.
Unlike Simeon, we have so many prophets; men and women of God today who find it so difficult to tell people the truth. Prophecy in our day and time has been reduced to simply telling the people what they like to hear rather than what God really wants them to hear.
Fourthly, the fact that the Holy Spirit also revealed Jesus’ identity to Anna the prophetess who spent all her time in the temple praying and fasting teaches us one very important truth: The more we encounter God in daily prayer, the more God reveals Himself to us. Never neglect your daily prayer, and never rush prayer. If you want to know God, you need to spend more time in his presence.
Fifthly, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus ends with the line that summarizes the hidden of Jesus Christ. It says: “When they had finished everything required by 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 favour of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:39-40). If we want our children to grow strong and wise, we must, like Mary and Joseph constantly present them to God.
Never neglect to bring your children to church. Let them attend catechism classes. Let them be at Sunday School. It is very important. Do not assume that your children will get to know God or make the right choices in life on their own. Bring them to God. As the book of Proverbs says: “Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, I present my entire household to you today, free me from all inclinations to evil. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (The Presentation of the Lord – Feast, Bible Study: Malachi 3:1-4, Ps. 24:7-10, Luke 2:22-40).
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu