Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Feast of the Presentation

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Luke 2:22-40

"… to present him to the Lord"

The account of the presentation at the Temple brings to an end the stories of the birth and infancy of Jesus. In obedience to the Jewish Law, Mary and Joseph brought the child for the ritual of the presentation of the first-born which had its origins in the Exodus. Then, the death of the first-born of the Egyptians led to the final deliverance of the Israelite slaves. The angel of death had passed over the houses of the Israelites, marked with the blood of a lamb specially sacrificed for that purpose. Now, the presentation of the first-born recalled that event with the offering for sacrifice of a lamb or, in the case of the poor like Mary and Joseph, a pair of pigeons.

Prompted by the Holy Spirit, the prophets Simeon and Anna recognised in this child the long awaited Messiah. Simeon declared him to be the salvation of all nations and a light to the pagans. Even so, he said, he is destined to be a 'sign that is rejected', with all the suffering that will bring to him and to Mary his Mother, whose very soul will be pierced as by a sword. She will be intimately bound to her Son in every life situation, in joy and in pain.

This 'sword' points already to the conflicts which Jesus will meet in his public ministry, conflicts which will lead ultimately to the cross when he will himself be the lamb of sacrifice. Mary will share in all of this, even to the cross. Her 'yes' of faith at the time of annunciation will be a living reality through her whole life.