The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in The Temple
February 1, 2022
This Wednesday, February 2, is the feast of The Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in The Temple (we will be transferring its celebration to this Sunday, February 6). This is an important feast in many parts of the Church (considered one of the Twelve Great Feasts in the Easter Orthodox Church), and a most ancient celebration, dating to, at least, the early 400s. It is another epiphany in this Epiphany season. An epiphany is a manifestation, a striking appearance. When it comes to God, however, the manifestations are more than striking appearance. The manifestations are experiences of sharing. In other words, when God manifests Himself, God shares Himself.
Forty days after Jesus’ birth, we have a sharing in the Temple. When the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. This was prescribed in the law, as recorded in the Book of Leviticus, chapter 12. More deeply than mere observance of tradition, however, Mary and Joseph are coming to the Temple to thank God for the gift of Jesus and to share the gift with the world. And, waiting in line to receive the gift are the mysterious figures Simeon and “Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher”.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) preached on this feast:
Offer your Son, holy Virgin,
and present to the Lord the blessed fruit of your womb.
Offer for the reconciliation of us all
the holy Victim which is pleasing to God.
After this public sharing, Joseph, Mary and Jesus “returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.” Normalcy resumes, or so it seems. Divine light, hidden in the everyday, is our new normal. Discover it. Discover the Lord present to you, loving you unconditionally. How blessed we are.
Yours in Christ,