Malachi 3: 1 – 4
Hebrews 2: 10 – 11, 13b – 18
Luke: 2. 22 – 40
Have Your Eyes Seen Salvation ?
Today, (Feb 2) we commemorate the Presentation of Christ by his parents, Mary and
Joseph, in the Temple at Jerusalem, exactly forty days after his birth. They held the
customary sacrifices of two turtle doves. In the Temple Christ was carried in the arms of
the Righteous Simeon and watched over by the Prophetess Anna. This Feast is yet more
proof that the Son of God truly became man. Today an infant, not a spirit or an angel, is
brought to the Temple.
The observance of this feast began in 4 th century Jerusalem, and was celebrated in Rome
by the 5 th century. It is a feast of both Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin. In the Eastern
Church, it was called The Meeting of Jesus and Mary with Simeon and Anna,
representatives of the Old Covenant.
In the Middle Ages, a tradition began of blessing Candles and holding a procession of
light on this day. As a result, this feast is also known as Candlemass: Christ our light has
come to us.
The Temple was a busy place; crowds of people at any given time of the day and this
day, when Jesus was presented in the Temple, was no different. Crowds of people would
have been milling around the temple worshipping, praying, buying animals for the
sacrifices, chatting with each other, catching up with friends and family.
But in the midst of the busy crowd was Simeon an oasis of calm amidst the frenetic
activity. We read in verse 25: “Simeon was righteous and devout. He was waiting…”
We can’t imagine what it was that Simeon saw in the holy family so that he knew this
was the child he had been waiting for. We can assume that Mary and Joseph and the
child looked much the same as any other family in the Temple on that day. But, we are
simply told that, “Simeon was moved by the Spirit.”
He went into the temple courts, he saw the holy family, and his eyes fixed on the baby
Jesus and Simeon knew that this was the one he had been waiting for, the one that Israel
had been waiting for.
Simoen took the baby Jesus in his arms and he praised God: “Master, now you are
dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your
salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to
the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2: 29 – 32).
We can only marvel at the depth of Simeon’s faith and the depth of his wisdom. Who
would have thought that the salvation of Israel would come in the form of a 40 day old
baby? Who would have been looking to a young child as the long promised consolation
of Israel? Perhaps we would have been on the lookout for a wise Pharisee, or a learned
Sadducee, or maybe a freedom fighter willing to take on the strength of the Roman
occupying armies. But Simeon is so wise and so faithful and so tuned into God that he
looks beyond the obvious and finds God in the ordinary, in the mundane, in the shape of
a frail and vulnerable baby.
God comes to us in the mundane and true spirituality is being able to find him there: that
God doesn’t want to take us out of our lives into a spiritual realm but wants us to find the
spiritual realm in our everyday lives. Sometimes, we are so busy looking for God over
there that we forget how to find him over here. Sometimes, we are so busy looking for
the miraculous and the supernatural, in our midst: the miraculous gift of salvation in the
ordinary things of life. We need to develop spiritual insight like Simeon that recognizes
God in the simple things in life and to find our salvation there.
And, in the same scene, we come across Anna, another wise old age pensioner; 84 years
old, dedicated to worship and the spiritual disciplines. We are told that, “She never left
the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day.” What incredible
faith this woman had and, like Simeon, she too was enlightened by the Holy Spirit and
recognized in Jesus the consolation of Israel.
Anna doesn’t want to keep the good news to herself. “She spoke about the child to all
who were looking forward to the redemption of Israel.” She was an early evangelist for
And so, in Simeon and Anna, we have two sides of the same coin represented. In
Simeon, we have a metaphor for us finding contentment in our own salvation and the
knowledge that we can die in peace because we have met our Saviour. In Anna, we have
a metaphor for the need for us to share that good news of salvation with others so that they
too may be drawn to the Christ – child. Simeon represents to us confidence in our
personal salvation. Anna represents to us the evangelical spirit to which we are all called.
So, at this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, we can rejoice in our own salvation and
we can commit ourselves to the task of evangelism.
God bless. Happy Feast.