Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – February 2 – Luke 2:22-40
The Gospel reading for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is Luke 2:22-40.
God selected holy and observant Jews to be the parents of His Son. Joseph and Mary presented Jesus for circumcision and naming eight days after the Nativity and now fulfill their next religious obligation: the purification after birth rituals (Lev 12) for Mary and the ceremonial presentation of first born son (Exod 13:11-16) at the Temple in Jerusalem. While Mary is Immaculate and remains miraculously a virgin even after the birth of Christ, she nevertheless presents herself for purification to fulfill the Law and avoid scandal. The presentation of Christ fulfills the obligation for a Jewish first-born male, consecrating Him to the Lord. Mary and Joseph’s offering (two small birds) meet the requirements of the poor; Christ is counted among the poor He comes to save.
Simeon, a devout old man, has long waited for the fulfillment of God’s promise that he would see Israel’s salvation; the sight of Christ fulfills God’s promise to Simeon and he is moved to prophesize. Simeon’s hymn, called the Nunc Dimittis (Latin, “now dismissed”), draws from Isaiah’s prophecies and confirms Simeon may now die in peace and joy, knowing Israel’s promised salvation has come. Beyond Simeon’s comprehension, he is able to hold God in his arms.
Simeon’s prophesy is a bittersweet consolation to Mary and Joseph. Christ’s mission of salvation to the world is confirmed by a prophet at the Temple, giving Mary and Joseph joy. While Simeon’s prediction of the judgment that Christ will bring upon the people and that Mary will suffer deep sorrow brings discomfort and perhaps even sadness, Simeon’s words prepare and strengthen Mary and Joseph for their coming trials. Anna’s praise of God’s blessing in His Son offers an additional consolation of Mary and Jospeh.
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ’s divinity is revealed to Simeon, a devout man who God prepared for years for Simeon’s exaltation. Son of Mary and Son of Joseph, Christ sends Simeon to give His parents consolation. Divine Mercy, Christ allows Simeon to both witness and proclaim His salvation.
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Luke’s Infancy Narrative, which come from the Virgin Mary’s recollections, are full of mysterious revelations. Be awed by Christ’s preparation of Simeon (God had promised Simeon that he would see the Christ) and how Christ’s divinity is recognized by Simeon.
2) In Christ’s Presentation at the Temple (CCC 529) and in all other ways, Mary and Joseph perfectly kept the requirements of the Jewish Law, raising Jesus to be a devout Jew. Reflect upon the essential Duties of Fathers (CCC 5,1653, 1656, 2221-2231, 2688) and pray for Christ to help you perfectly fulfill your responsibilities to Him.
3) Simeon prophesizes that Christ will be the cause “the fall and rising of many.” Reflect upon the need for a regular Examination of Conscience (CCC 1454), conduct a rigorous Examine and go to Confession, praying that Christ helps you to continually rise towards sainthood and Heaven.