“Simeon was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel… “(Luke 2:25)
Dr. Scott Hahn offers us the following insight into today’s Feast of the Presentation of the Lord: “Today’s feast marks the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple, forty days after he was born. As the firstborn, he belonged to God. According to the Law, Mary and Joseph were required to take him to the Temple and “redeem” him by paying five shekels. At the same time, the Law required the child’s mother to offer sacrifice in order to overcome the ritual impurity brought about by childbirth. So the feast we celebrate shows a curious turn of events. The Redeemer is redeemed. She who is all-pure presents herself to be purified. Such is the humility of our God. Such is the humility of the Blessed Virgin. They submit to the law even though they are not bound by it.”
It is rare that we get to celebrate this feast on a Sunday, but today is a feast about a God encountering his people. It’s not so much about Jesus being presented in the temple as prescribed by the law, but rather Jesus going out to meet his people particularly in the person of Simeon who long waited to see the Messiah with his own eyes. Taking our cue for Simeon whose prayers were heard, today is also a day to present to Jesus all of our prayers as well. Every single day, many people walk through our church doors to present their burdens to God. Like Simeon, they want consolation as well. When we come to Mass on Sundays, we come to present to the Lord our hearts and souls. If he gives himself totally to us in the Eucharist, how can we not give our total self to him? Unfortunately we come in distracted by the problems that we carry out there. We don’t totally disconnect from the world, which is why I get all bent out of shape when a cell phone goes off. This is supposed to be our sanctuary, a sacred place, holy ground. Yesterday during the Vigil Mass, a lady stood at the back exit door during the singing of the Gloria, she had the door opened with one hand and talking into her phone with the other. She kept opening and closing the door, not being able to cut off the conversation. I don’t know whom she was speaking to, but could that person be more important than the Almighty whose praises we were singing inside? That’s why I propose to you that you start spiritually preparing for Mass at home before you even get into the car. Turn off your phone at home. Start mentally preparing yourself for an encounter with the Divine. That way when you drive into our parking lot, you’re not distracted by anything else, and when you walk into the church, you heart is totally disposed to encounter the Living God.
All of us come into this church every Sunday carrying burdens, some of them very heavy. Today, I want you to cast off the burden you are carrying and hand it over to our Savior. Do it. Right now. Close your eyes. Think of the biggest problem you are carrying around at this very moment. Don’t look at me. Don’t look at your watch. Close your eyes. Visualize that problem. I don’t care how big it is. Our God is bigger. Now cast off that problem and place it here at the foot of the altar. I want you to leave this church today at peace, consoled. God listens to and answers each and every one of our prayers. Simeon delighted to see our Savior. Our Savior delights in answering our prayers. May our prayer this day be the same as Simeon’s: “Lord, now you may let your servant go in peace…your word has been fulfilled.”