Join our Lenten Campaign 2024.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
The feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple prompts us to reflect on some important aspects of our lives. The first one is the act of offering by which Jesus’ parents, abiding to and fulfilling tradition, bring Jesus to the Temple: “as it is written in the law of the Lord, (‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Giving God the best of our lives, the best of what happens or of what is given to us, does not mean we deprive ourselves of it. On the contrary, we are saving it. Faith works this way: Everything that is offered to God becomes a source of salvation. Making an offering is not a way of “paying back” some deity’s benevolence – that’s typical of a pagan mindset. Offering means recognizing that, since God is trustworthy Love, everything that is given to Him becomes trustworthily good.
In this sense, the best things in our lives (dare I say even the worst) if given to Him, can become redemption. So if there is a good thing in your life, don’t get attached to it: Offer it to Him. If you are suffering from something, don’t hold to that suffering as if you have to face it alone: Offer it to Him, and from that moment that suffering will contribute to your own good.
In today’s Gospel, we read the testimony of two elders: Simeon and Anna. They represent two attitudes that we often disregard: expectation and praise.
Simeon is the one who knew how to wait, without turning waiting into pretension. Anna is the one who although she suffered, did not turn her suffering into frustration but into praise. Knowing how to wait and to give thanks are two attitudes that always lead us to Jesus.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.