Preacher’s Sketchbook: Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
January 28, 2014
Each week, a Dominican member of the Province of St. Joseph’s Preaching Advisory Board prepares this Preacher’s Sketchbook in anticipation of the upcoming Sunday Mass. The idea of the Preacher’s Sketchbook is to take quotations from the authority of the Church–the Pope, the Fathers of the Church, documents of the Councils, the saints–that can help spark ideas for the Sunday homily. Just as an artist’s sketchbook preserves ideas for later elaboration, so we hope the Preacher’s Sketchbook will provide some ideas for homiletical elaboration.
Let him who wishes to be dismissed come to the Temple, let him come to Jerusalem, let him await the Lord’s Christ, let him receive in his hands the Word of God, and let him embrace him as with the arms of his faith. Then he will be dismissed so that he who has seen Life will not see death. You see that abundant grace was imparted to all through the birth of the Lord, and the prophecy was denied by the unbelieving, not by the just. Behold Simeon, too, prophesies that the Lord Jesus has come for the fall and for the resurrection of many, to discern the merits of the righteous and of the wicked, and as a true and just Judge to decide on punishments or rewards according to the nature of our deeds.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
As the Son of God “became man, and was circumcised in the flesh, not for his own sake, but that He might make us to be God’s through grace, and that we might be circumcised in the spirit; so, again, for our sake He was presented to the Lord, that we may learn to offer ourselves to God” (Saint Athanasius).
Blessed John Paul II
The temple of the Old Covenant waits for that Anointed One, the Messiah. The reason for its existence, so to speak, is this waiting… The light is with us!… It illumines the darkness of human souls. The darkness of existence… It is particularly in depth that Christ illumines the mystery of man. Particularly and deeply, and with what delicacy, he descends into the secret recesses of souls and of human consciences. He is the Master of life, in the deepest sense. Yet just he, he, the only one, has revealed to each of us, and always reveals to so many men, the truth that “man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself (cf. Lk 17:33)” (Gaudium et Spes, 24).
Pope Benedict XVI
This is the meeting point of the two Testaments, Old and New. Jesus enters the ancient Temple; he who is the new Temple of God: he comes to visit his people, thus bringing to fulfillment obedience to the Law and ushering in the last times of salvation… Alone two elderly people, Simeon and Anna, discover this great newness. Led by the Holy Spirit, in this Child they find the fulfillment of their long waiting and watchfulness. They both contemplate the light of God that comes to illuminate the world and their prophetic gaze is opened to the future in the proclamation of the Messiah: “Lumen ad revelationem gentium!” (Lk 2:32). The prophetic attitude of the two elderly people contains the entire Old Covenant which expresses the joy of the encounter with the Redeemer. Upon seeing the Child, Simeon and Anna understood that he was the Awaited One.
Servant of God Luigi Giussani
When Our Lady went to the Temple to offer her first-born Son, she certainly felt in a sense nullified by the grandeur and majesty of God. But, in her perception of the greatness of the Temple, a feeling penetrated and prevailed: the greatness of God was the baby she held in her arms; it was the baby who cried, it was the baby she nursed. Seeing in what God caused to be born the decisive factor of history and the world, as the elderly Simeon would say, which splits the world in two—seeing from what he was born, he whom the gates of hell can no longer destroy, the human strength that is the greatest of all human strengths, seeing from what he rose up, we are as though petrified by wonder. This impact, this event, is totally unthinkable, unforeseeable, totally new, totally and truly incomprehensible: God made a part of the experience of our “I,” of the experience of every one of our actions.
Additional Preaching Resources
- The Holy See: Ordinary Time
- Fr. Thomas Rosica (Salt and Light Media)
- The Torch
- Fr. Francis Martin Website
- Biblius Clerus, a resource of the Congregation for the Clergy
- The Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P., for the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Image: Giotto, Presentation of Christ at the Temple