Tuesday, 2 February 2021 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, World Day of Consecrated Life (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which takes place exactly forty days after the beginning of the Christmas season, the fortieth day since the twenty-fifth day of December. Today traditionally marks the end of the Christmas season and celebrations, and in the traditional Roman calendar, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated, when mothers like the Blessed Virgin Mary are welcomed back to the Temple forty days after giving birth.

This day, we celebrate the day when the Lord was presented to the world, especially to the Jewish people, a revelation of God’s salvation to them, represented by the man of God, Simeon and the old prophetess Anna. This is in parallel to what we have celebrated a few weeks earlier in the Solemnity of the Epiphany, marking the revelation of the Christ to the Gentiles through the Three Magi.

In this celebration today, we mark the moment God revealed His salvation to His people, fulfilling the promises He had made to them through His prophets, and we heard of all the things that had happened at that time, how Simeon and Anna both said that the Child would be the great Sign and the Light of God’s salvation to all. The long wait for the promised salvation had therefore been over.

And the Lord Jesus was presented to the Lord at His Temple in accordance with the Law which stated that all the firstborn sons ought to be presented and dedicated to God. This is also especially unique because this Child was none other than the Son of God Himself, Who was therefore in fact, presented to His heavenly Father, dedicated and committed to the mission entrusted in Him for the salvation of the whole world.

The Son of God has revealed Himself to us, showing the love and compassion of God, and we are all called to embrace this love and compassion, and to turn towards Him and looking up to Him, remembering and realising just how fortunate each and every one of us have been to have this loving gift of salvation from God. Thanks to Him, we can have hope once again.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we also celebrate the occasion of the World Day of Consecrated Life, remembering particularly all those who have followed in the Lord’s footsteps by dedicating themselves wholeheartedly in consecrating their lives to God just as the Lord has been presented at the Temple and was consecrated for the mission entrusted to Him.

Those who have been called to the Consecrated Life are those brothers and sisters of ours who committed their lives wholly to God, who desire nothing else but to serve God and glorify Him by their lives. They spent their whole lives living together in faithful communities, either cloistered in the monasteries or living in a community of brothers and sisters dedicated in serving the people of God.

Today all of us thank the Lord for the gift of the dedication of these fellow brothers and sisters of ours, and of course we also show them our appreciation as well. We pray for all of them that they can stay committed in their calling and ministry, in whatever it is that they are doing, through prayers and actions, and we pray that there will be more of those whom God had called who will respond to the call to Consecrated Life and live a holy life befitting of those whom God had called and chosen.

May the Lord continue to guide those whom He had called and chosen, and may He strengthen their faith and give them the courage to persevere through the various challenges in life. May He also awaken in more among us to respond to His call, that more and more men and women may come to join the Consecrated Life, and be inspiration in faith for everyone of us. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, World Day of Consecrated Life (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 2 : 22-40

When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord : Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law.

Simeon took the Child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Now, o Lord, You can dismiss Your servant in peace, for You have fulfilled Your word and my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You display for all the people to see. Here is the Light You will reveal to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign, a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the Child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the Child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon Him.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Luke 2 : 22-32

When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the Baby up to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord : Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law.

Simeon took the Child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Now, o Lord, You can dismiss Your servant in peace, for You have fulfilled Your word and my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You display for all the people to see. Here is the Light You will reveal to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

Tuesday, 2 February 2021 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, World Day of Consecrated Life (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 23 : 7, 8, 9, 10

Lift up, o gateways, your lintels, open up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may enter!

Who is the King of glory? YHVH, the Strong, the Mighty, YHVH, valiant in battle.

Lift up your lintels, o gateways, open up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may enter!

Who is the King of glory? YHVH of Hosts, He is the King of glory!

Tuesday, 2 February 2021 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, World Day of Consecrated Life (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Malachi 3 : 1-4

Now I am sending My messenger ahead of Me to clear the way; then suddenly the Lord for Whom you long will enter the sanctuary. The Envoy of the covenant which you so greatly desire already comes, says YHVH of hosts. Who can bear the day of His coming and remain standing when He appears? For He will be like fire in the foundry and like the lye used for bleaching.

He will be as a refiner or a fuller. He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. So YHVH will have priests who will present the offering as it should be. Then YHVH will accept with pleasure the offering of Judah and Jerusalem, as in former days.

Alternative reading

Hebrews 2 : 14-18

And because all those children share one same nature of flesh and blood, Jesus, likewise, had to share this nature. This is why His death destroyed the one holding the power of death, that is the devil, and freed those who remained in bondage all their lifetime, because of the fear of death.

Jesus came, to take by the hand, not the Angels but the human race. So, He had to be like His brothers and sisters, in every respect, in order to be the High Priest, faithful to God and merciful to them, a Priest, able to ask pardon, and atone for their sins. Having been tested through suffering, He is able to help those who are tested.