Presentation of the Lord (Feb 2)
February 02, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.




Behold, the Sovereign Lord is coming; kingship, government and power are in his hands. Ps/. Endow the King with your judgment, O God, and the King's son with your righteousness. O God, give your judgment to the king, *to a king’s son your justice, that he may judge your people injustice, *and your poor in right judgment.




Almighty ever-living God,
we humbly implore your majesty
that, just as your Only Begotten Son
was presented on this day in the Temple
in the substance of our flesh,
so, by your grace,
we may be presented to you with minds made pure.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading  Malachi 3:1-4

Thus says the Lord God:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
   to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
   the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
   Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
   And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
   or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
   and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
   that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
   will please the LORD,
   as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Responsorial Psalm 24:7,8,9,10

Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
   reach up, you ancient portals,
   that the king of glory may come in!

Who is this king of glory?
   The LORD, strong and mighty,
   the LORD, mighty in battle.

Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
   reach up, you ancient portals,
   that the king of glory may come in!

Who is this king of glory?
   The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.

Second Reading Hebrews 2:14-18

Since the children share in blood and flesh,
   Jesus likewise shared in them,
   that through death he might destroy the one
   who has the power of death, that is, the Devil,
   and free those who through fear of death
   had been subject to slavery all their life.
Surely he did not help angels
   but rather the descendants of Abraham;
   therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters
   in every way,
   that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God
   to expiate the sins of the people.
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered,
   he is able to help those who are being tested.

Gospel Acclamation


Gospel Luke 2:22-32

When the days were completed for their purification
   according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
   to present him to the Lord,
   just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
   Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
   and to offer the sacrifice of
   a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
   in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
   awaiting the consolation of Israel,
   and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
   that he should not see death
   before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
   and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
   to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
   he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
      “Now, Master, you may let your servant go
         in peace, according to your word,
      for my eyes have seen your salvation,
         which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
      a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
         and glory for your people Israel.”

Catena Nova

What does the prophet Symeon say of Christ? Behold this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against. For the Emmanuel is set by God the Father as the foundations of Sion, being a chosen stone, the cornerstone. Those then who trusted in him were not ashamed: but those who were unbelieving and ignorant, and unable to perceive the mystery regarding him, fell and were broken in pieces.…And by the sign that is spoken against, he means the precious Cross, for as the most wise Paul writes, to the Jews it is a stumbling-block and it is foolishness to the heathen; and again, To those who are perishing it is foolishness: but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God unto salvation. The sign therefore is spoken against if to those that perish it seems to be folly; while to those who acknowledge its power it is salvation and life. (Cyril of Alexandria)
O how blessed is the omnipotence of him who was born! Yea, how blessed is the glory of him who came down from heaven to earth! While he was yet in his Mother’s womb, he was saluted by St John the Baptist. And when he was presented in the temple, he was recognized by the old man Simeon, a worthy man who was full of years, tested and crowned. This ancient one, as soon as he knew him, worshipped and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. He had lingered long in the world to see the birth of him who made the world. The old man knew the child, and in that child became a child himself, for in the love with which he regarded the Father of all, he felt his own years to be as but yesterday. The ancient Simeon bore in his arms the new-born Christ, and all the while Christ ruled and upheld the old man. Simeon had been told by the Lord that he should not taste of death before he had seen the birth of the Christ of the Lord. Now that Christ was born, all the old man’s wishes on earth were fulfilled. He that came into a decrepit world now also came to an old man.  (St Augustine of Hippo)
The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God. The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendor, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. (St. Sophronios of Jerusalem)
Who on this earth could even closely compare with the Lord in patient endurance of suffering except His Most holy Mother? The elder Symeon, adorned with snowy hair like a white swan, prophetically foresaw her future sufferings and likened those sufferings to a sword piercing her Soul…. This handmaid of the Lord, unsurpassable in nobility! She saw herself clearly in God's plan for the salvation of mankind; she read about herself in the prophets; she spoke with the angels - God's messengers. Therefore, all that came upon her, joy or pain, she knew came from God. She was not jubilant in her joy nor did she murmur in her pain, but rather she remained silent and laid it all up in her heart. O Most-holy Virgin Theotokos, help us that we may be, like thee, submissive to the will of God. To thy Son and Lord, through thee, be glory and praise forever. Amen. (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

The glorious St. Simeon also was very happy…to carry Him as did Our Lady…we do this when we endure with love the labors and pains He sends us, that is to say, when the love which we bear to the Law of God makes us find His yoke easy and pleasing, so that we love these pains and labors, and gather sweetness in the midst of bitterness. This is nothing else but to carry Our Lord in our arms. Now if we carry Him in this way, He will, without doubt, Himself carry us. (St. Francis de Sales)

The God we worship has taken our physical material selves seriously because God declared about everything that God had created – matter and spirit, everything, not just that it was good, God said it was “very good”. That is why we say in the Nicene Creed: ‘maker of all there is, visible and invisible’. That matter is not recalcitrant, hostile and antagonistic to the spirit and so God could and did become a real human being, a real baby, belonging to a particular couple who have names, who lived in a real, a particular village, Nazareth, in an actual, real part of the world God created, belonging to an actual, real community with particular and specific laws, rules and customs.  So this baby’s parents obeyed the law and brought the baby to be redeemed as the first-born male who belonged therefore to God. God took human history seriously and so fulfilled promises God had made earlier to a Simon and to a faithful widow, Anna. (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

The Angel-lights of Christmas morn,
Which shot across the sky,
Away they pass at Candlemas,
They sparkle and they die.

Comfort of earth is brief at best,
Although it be divine;
Like funeral lights for Christmas gone,
Old Simeon's tapers shine.

And then for eight long weeks and more
We wait in twilight grey,
Till the high candle sheds a beam
On Holy Saturday.

We wait along the penance-tide
Of solemn fast and prayer;
While song is hush'd, and lights grow dim
In the sin-laden air.

And while the sword in Mary's soul
Is driven home, we hide
In our own hearts, and count the wounds
Of passion and of pride.

And still, though Candlemas be spent
And Alleluias o'er,
Mary is music in our need,
And Jesus light in store. (St. John Henry Newman)



What Did You Expect?

            I’m always dismayed by Christmas trees placed by the curb on St. Stephen’s Day.    Mine lasts until Epiphany.  But there’s still a Christmas wreath on my door and the crèche with the Magi is still up, though both will come down tomorrow, for it’s been 40 days since Christmas and its last vestiges will be gone.  But I’ll bet it’s not what you’d expect at such a late date.

            For who still remembers this Christmas past? The decorations have been down forever.  Sales are over.  Gifts tucked away in drawers. Children’s toys grown tiresome.  Holiday pounds to be shed. But the Church isn’t ready to forget Christmas past.  Not just yet.  So we have a feast with an echo of Christmas about it: the Feast of the Presentation when Joseph and Mary brought the Child Jesus to the temple.  How unexpected!

            Indeed, everything about this feast is unexpected.  Just imagine old Simeon there in the temple.  The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord (G).  But who knows what Simeon was expecting?  A powerful king with sword in hand to defeat the Roman invaders? Maybe. Or a glorious priest who would make the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem… please the Lord as in the days of old, as in years gone by? (cf. I). Possibly. Or a great prophet whose preaching would convict wrong-doers everywhere and pronounce God’s judgment on a sinful world?  Perhaps.

            These were common expectations of what the Messiah would be like: a great king a great priest, a great prophet. But then, the Lord whom Simeon sought, came suddenly to his temple in the form of a little child (cf. I). One among many who came that day to fulfill the law of the Lord. Practically lost in the crowd, unnoticed. And not merely a child, but the child of simple parents, who made the offering of the poor: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.  More than that, they came from an obscure place--the town of Nazareth in the region of Galilee--a place looked down upon by the religious elite of Jerusalem as a backwater contaminated by Gentiles (G).  How unexpected!

           But God is like that, you know.  Always showing up where you’d least expect, where we might never think of looking unless we too, like Simeon, are in the Spirit (G).  I’m sure you’ve heard of the work of Sister Helen Prejean with convicts on death row.  She tells how she came to recognize the image of God in people condemned to death for terrible crimes, the presence of God in people few others could see as a temple of the Holy Spirit: even though they had been refined like gold or like silver (I) by repentance and Sr. Helen’s unconditional love. For she, like Jesus, is not ashamed to call brothers and sisters (cf. Heb. 2:11) those whom others see fit only for judgment and condemnation.  Or as Archbishop Roman Williams asks, “How difficult is it for us to see the face of God as victim in a criminal in prison?….the hopelessness and self-loathing, even the impotent anger of the jailed murderer, all that constitutes him or her a trapped and helpless victim, must speak to us, in however distorted an accent, of the Lamb of God.”  How unexpected!

            Come to think of it, Simeon also foresaw the death of the Victim Messiah. How this child was destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be contradicted.  And how his mother too would share in the contradiction Christ would embody--a sword piercing her as well (cf. G).  In other words, Simeon saw how it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader of their salvation perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2:10). He saw how the Child would one day be a “dead man walking” himself--condemned to death by the state--to expiate the sins of the people (II).  How unexpected!

            But that’s how God comes among us:  Not as a king like David to rule as one strong and mighty (RP) -- but as a king who bears a crown of thorns.  Not as a mediator like Moses, to speak with God on our behalf atop a mountain shrouded by cloud and thunder--but as a merciful and faithful high priest…tested through what he suffered (II).  Nor finally as a fearsome prophet like Elijah, whose coming we cannot endure, and before whom we cannot stand (cf. I) -- but as one like his brothers and sisters in every way (II).  How unexpected!

            And so God comes to us today.  Not in the strong and powerful, but in the weak and the poor.  Not in remote and distant places, but in the people next to you, members of the same body.  And not in chariots of fire, or wearing special dress, nor even the mantle of authority, but in the simple gifts we present in this liturgy: Our own version of turtledoves and pigeons, namely, gifts of bread and wine.  These are the offerings that please the Lord (I).   How unexpected!

            And even more unexpectedly, we receive these gifts as his body and blood since the children share in blood and flesh (II)Through Jesus Christ, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for [God’s] people Israel (cf. G).  Who lives and reigns, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that the Light of Christ may shine through our lives and reveal God to all who are searching for meaning or purpose to their lives.

For the Light of Wisdom for all church leaders: that their teaching and actions may lead others to a deeper relationship with Christ and bind the Church in greater unity.

For all who live in darkness: that the Light of the Gospel may open new insights for them and show them the path to life that Christ offers.

For the Light of Justice: that the burden and pain of those who suffer unjustly may be lifted and that God’s saving mercy may free them to live life fully.

For all members of Religious Communities: that the Spirit will renew them and empower them to give faithful witness to Christ who is the center of their lives.

For parents of infants: that God will guide them in caring for and nurturing their child so that each child may grow to their fullest potential and be a blessing for the human family.

For all senior citizens: that God will give them health and strength so that we may learn from them and be inspired by them.

For Light for all world leaders: that God will help all world leaders to see the value and dignity of human life and work tirelessly for peace.

For the preservation of natural resources: that God will guide us understanding the rhythms of nature and inspire us as we work to preserve the riches of the earth for future generations.

For all who are recovering from natural disasters: that God will give them strength, renew their hope, and help them to find the resources that they need to rebuild their lives.

Inspired by your Spirit, Lord,
we gather in your temple to welcome your Son.
Enlighten our minds
and lay bare our inmost thoughts.
Purify your people, and make us obedient to the demands of your law,
so that we may mature in wisdom
and grow to full stature in your grace.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Chant (English unavailable)

 Grace has been poured out on your lips; threfore, God has blessed you forever, world without end.

Offertory Hymn


Communion Chant (English unavailable)

Simeon had received a revelation from the Holy Spirit, that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah.

Closing Hymn


Ave, Mary, full of grace, In whose virgin arms; embrace God to God himself doth vow. Alleluia, alleluia! Let me in the temple wait, Jesu, for mine all art thou.

God is to his temple come; Angels throng the hallowed dome. What beyond hath heav’n in store? Alleluia, alleluia! God himself our flesh doth wear; This than heav’n itself is more!

Incense gales of gladness rise Where this morning sacrifice ‘Mid reechoing shouts is made; Alleluia, alleluia!

Evening’s rite in tears shall end, On the darkening Cross displayed. There behold the Oblations wrought By whose precious ransom bought, We are all to God made nigh: Alleluia, alleluia!

Now no longer, Lord, our own, Thine we live and thine we die. Let thy servant now depart; May we see thee as thou art; Nought of earth arrest our eyes! Alleluia, alleluia! Let us here with Jesus grow, And in him hereafter rise.