Daily Reflection
February 2nd, 2002
Tom Bannantine, S.J.
Nursing Chaplain
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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm 24:7, 8, 9, 10
Hebrews 2:14-18
Luke 2:22-40 or 2:22-32

When I read St. Luke's account of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, I find myself drawn to the figures of Anna and Simeon.  It seems to me that they have given us an important message, one that is timeless.  The Presentation itself, and the ritual and ceremony that accompanied it are not very familiar to me or to most Christians today. But Anna and Simeon and what they said on this occasion speak to me and to all of us who believe in and follow Jesus.  It is clear from the words of the story that Anna and Simeon were inspired in a special way by almighty God.  Luke tells us that the Holy Spirit was upon them.  By the time that this gospel was recorded, the disciples were familiar with the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit had come upon them on the first Pentecost and continued to be with them to strengthen them in their ministry.  But at the time of the Presentation, the Holy Spirit was not yet known to men. Nevertheless, Luke recognizes that Anna and Simeon were inspired that day by the Holy Spirit.  They were among the very first to receive such inspiration.  The story of the Presentation did not attract much attention.  There probably were not many people in the temple who heard what Anna and Simeon said.  Indeed, were it not for Luke, we would not know about the Presentation either.  The other three evangelists do not mention it.  But Luke has given us something precious, the words of these holy people which I think speak to all of us.

Simeon was a wise and devout man and he was chosen by God to be an instrument in the plan of salvation.  He was favored with the knowledge that he would live to see Christ in person.  Since at that time no one knew when the savior would come, we might say that Simeon was given inside knowledge by the Holy Spirit.  Simeon's response is very beautiful.  It reveals joy and gratitude, but above all it reveals great faith.  The moment he sees Christ he knows and believes that this baby is really and truly the savior.  With that he is content and declares himself ready to depart peacefully from this life.  Anna too, was a very holy person, and was favored with a similar advanced notice of the coming of the savior. Luke tells us that Anna was a prophetess.  She had apparently foretold coming events on other occasions.  Although we don't have her words, it seems clear that they were very much like those of Simeon.  These two holy people testify to the world that the savior has come.  Their message is just as important for us today as it was for their hearers when they spoke long ago.  Today they tell us once again that God has a plan of salvation for all peoples who know and love and follow Christ Our Lord.

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