FEBRUARY 2. 2011- PRESENTATION OF THE LORD: LUKE 2:22-40
A LIGHT OF
REVELATION TO THE GENTILES AND THE GLORY OF YOUR PEOPLE
As we reflect on the implications of these words we begin to realize that they speak to us still today of another world than this visible universe. Saint Luke who reports this event informs us that the Holy Spirit was with this holy man who had set his hope on God having had earlier received a promise that before his death he would see the Christ of the Lord. Thus we are given to understand that Simeon’s exclamation upon encountering the infant Jesus is inspired, and so speaks of a divine reality revealed to him with God’s own authority. This entire scene then introduces us into the transcendent world where God is all in all, and makes the point that in Jesus a whole new dimension of reality is made present in this familiar world of ours. History is being taken up into a new phase of the divine plan for the whole of mankind with the appearance of this child in our world. He is a member of the Jewish people and gives luster to his race, but he is not confined to the Jews; on the contrary he is destined to give to all peoples the light of understanding the purpose of life in this world.
Anna too is brought into this revelation by Luke. She
represents the lowly and the poor who look to God for the meaning of their
existence, and trust in him in their lonely desolateness. Of such as her Jesus
was to speak in his Sermon on the Mount ““Blessed are the poor in spirit for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus, welcomed and recognized by the poor in
spirit in her person as well as by his own mother, was in turn, in his work as
preacher, to recognize in them objects of God’s special care and concern. Surely for us today this feature of the
Presentation speaks to us. In modern times when so much honor and prestige is
associated with the rich and highly gifted, with the scientists and learned
professors Anna reminds us that the most vital knowledge is the fruit of faith
persevered in loyally. Looking to God for significance and overcoming the
poverty of insignificance by a firm hope that is confident of God’s approval.
The rich and intelligent, as witnessed by Solomon among others, are not
excluded from such perception of the divine light, provided their hope and
confidence are founded on the gift and grace of God.
Early in the history of Israel there arose a keen persuasion that was formulated and made the basis of Jewish faith and formation to the effect that the root and source of penetrating knowledge and wisdom was not human intelligence and broad learning but rather a living trust in God. In the opening lines of the book of Proverbs, to name but one instance, we are assured that “The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge; fools hold wisdom and instruction in contempt.“ (Proverbs 1:7) How grateful we are for the great gift of faith that gives meaning to our life that has the solidity imparted as assurance that we already are destined for another world where is found the fullness of our very self in the loving presence of God. This Eucharist gives expression to our gratitude in that we offer at this altar, not only our own life with its hopes and desires, but are enabled to join in the offering Jesus himself makes to the Father on our behalf. May the grace we receive here sustain us as we strive today and always to make our decisions, our work, all our relations worthy of the light and glory that are ours as children of God. &
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