New eyes for prayer The SSMN Justice and Peace pastoral reflections
February 2nd 2012 – Presentation of the Lord By a group of Sisters from Brazil
The liturgy invites us to accompany Mary and Joseph who, as the Jewish Law prescribed, go to present the Child Jesus in the temple, and offer there a sacrifice for his ransom and for the purification of his mother. Simeon and Anna, 2 anawims, have waited their whole life for this moment of encounter with the Light of the nations (the name of this feast in the Eastern Church is “The Encounter”) Simeon prophesizes, and Anna speaks of the child to all who awaited the deliverance of Israel. We can underline 3 aspects of the mission of Jesus in this event. − Jesus, the Son of God, and his Mother, full of grace (Lc1,8), submit to the rituals of the Law – Ransom of the first-born, and Purification of the mother. − The offering of the sacrifice is what the poor offer. − Jesus is proclaimed Salvation for all, and Light for the nations.
Jesus and Mary submit to the Law Today Mary offers the son whom she has conceived, to the Lord; the son whom the angel announced would be called the Son of the Most High (Lc.1, 32). Later, Jesus would say that it was necessary that Justice be done (Mt.3, 15), and again, that he had not come to abolish the law, but to lead it to its fullness. (Mt. 5,17) Jesus totally assumes our human nature. The offering of the poor At the moment of the Presentation, we encounter again the poverty of the Birth. The offering of Mary and Joseph is the offering of the very poor- two doves. This first entry of Jesus into the Temple, which will be soon followed by his very body (Jn 2,21) is done in a great simplicity.
Simeon’s heart had to be totally turned toward the Lord in order for him to be able to recognize – amongst all the infants brought to the Temple to be presented- the one who is the Glory of Israel. Light for the Nations The prophet Zephaniah had announced that a poor and humble people would remain---a people who would put all its hope in the Lord (Soph. 3,12). Simeon and Anna are part of the poor of Yahweh. Their whole life was a waiting for the salvation which could only happen through the sacrifice – no longer of 2 doves- but of the life of the One who would be a sign of contradiction among his own people.
Feast of lights, day of consecrated men and women, the invitation of this day is that we go to the Encounter with Jesus, recognizing Him in our brothers and sisters, seeking to live the radicality of the Gospel, Light and salvation for all.