Dear brothers and sisters,
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of The Presentation of the Lord. Today we celebrate the close of the Christmas festival of light. During the liturgy candles are blessed and we carry them in procession to welcome Christ, the light to enlighten the Gentiles and the glory of his people.
At the beginning of this homily can we ask, what is the meaning of today's feast? What do we celebrate today? Today's celebration took place exactly 40 day's after Christmas. Time goes so fast and today it seems that the celebration of Christmas was not so long ago, but truly 40 days have past. Maybe this reminds us that time is so precious a gift, which we receive from God, and we should use this gift according to God's will.
The presentation of Jesus in the Temple is good opportunity to remember how close to us is our God, our Redeemer Jesus. Luke concludes the narrative of Jesus' birth with an account of what happened to him, in accordance with Israel's law, on the eighth day and on the fortieth day. Today's feast we remember what happened on the fortieth day after the birth of Jesus.
Today's Gospel reminds us of a few facts, the first one: "Every first born male must be consecrated to the Lord - and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of two young pigeons". Pope Benedict explaining this verse from Luke gospel teaches us: "Mary presented the offering of the poor. Luke, whose entire Gospel is shot through with a theology of the poor and a theology of poverty, is once again making is abundantly clear that Jesus' family belonged to the poor of Israel, and that it was among such as them that the promises world be fulfilled. Here too, we discover afresh what is meant by "under the law", what is meant when Jesus says to John the Baptist that all righteousness must be fulfilled. Mary does not need to be purified from the birth of Jesus, his birth ushers in the purification of the world. But she obeys the law, and in this way she servers the fulfillment of the promises".
Certainly today's feast is a good opportunity to ask ourselves, what I can offer today to God? According to Pope Benedict Mary presented the offering of the poor. My personal condition, whether I am poor or rich is not important. What is important is the condition of my heart. Am I able to give to God some special gift? Maybe my time, my talents, maybe something else.
Another important incident from today's gospel is a scene of prophecy. The old man Simeon and the prophetess Anna, prompted by the Spirit of God, appear in the Temple, and as representatives of faithful Israel and they greet the "Lord's Christ".
These two people, Simeon and Anna they are for us an example how we can grow our faith. Today's Gospel describes Simeon using three things: he is righteous (just), he is devout, and he is looking for the consolation of Israel. He lives for the Redeemer, for the one who is to come. We could say that he is a spiritual man and is therefore attuned to God's call, to his presence. At this point we need to ask ourselves, am I ready to follow this example? Today I live for the Redeemer Jesus Christ, for the one who is coming into my live?
Simeon told the parents of Jesus and today he tells us: Jesus is a sign of contradiction. Christ remains a sign of contradiction today, the teaching of Jesus and the teaching of Church today is criticized, as it was in the past and is today and will be tomorrow . Christ remains a sign of contradiction. We as Catholics must follow our Master and sometimes must be in our country and in our society a sign of contradiction.
The second person is the prophetess Anna. She is the model of the truly devout person. She is quite simply at home in the Temple. She lives with God and for God, body and soul. So she is truly a spirit-filled woman, a prophetess. Because she spends her life in the Temple - in adoration- she is there at the hour of Jesus' appearing. The prophetess Anna is for us a model for how we should wait for our Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes the answer from God comes only after long wait and she teaches us how to be faithful by constant prayer.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, today's feast reminds us that Jesus was presented in the Temple, Simeon and Anna found Jesus in Temple. If today we want to find Jesus that is possible in the Church, during prayer and receiving the Eucharist.