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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord




Gospel Luke 2: 22-40

When the days were completed for their purif

ication 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.


REFLECTION

The Canticle of Simeon

“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.”


What is a Canticle?

Canticle is a form of canticum which is Latin, a sacred song, as it comes from the Bible. The Canticle of Simeon or Nunc Dimittus is one of the three canticles which are called the “evangelical canticles” taken from Luke’s Gospel. Canticle of Zachariah or the “Benedictus” and Mary’s Canticle also known as the “Magnificat” are the other two “evangelical canticles.”


All three of these Canticles are prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours at different times of the day, every day in monasteries, religious communities, and by laypeople. St. Benedict of Nurcia started this practice in the sixth century. He is credited as the founder of “Western Monasticism” and began to implement a schedule of liturgical prayer to be prayed by his religious order, the Benedictines. This practice of praying spread throughout the Catholic world, not just to religious communities but also to the laypeople.


The message expressed in these sacred songs by Zachariah, Mother Mary, and Simeon is their humility, a serenity in their faith and submission to God’s Will and an immense gratitude for the fulfillment of God’s plan for our salvation.


Here is a poem “Candlemas” written by Denise Levertov referring to Nunc Dimittus, and how she explains what all these hymns expressed for the early Christians and hopefully for us today, the joy, love and gratefulness to our God.


Candlemas

- Denise Levertov


With certitude

Simeon opened

ancient arms

to infant light.

Decades

Before the cross, the tomb,

and the new life,

he knew

new life.

What depth

of faith he drew on

turning illumined

towards deep light.

As the dark presses in and the days get even shorter, I hope I “turn illumined towards deep night.”


God bless and the Peace of Christ be with you!


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