Celebrating the Presentation of the Lord!

The portrayal of the Presentation of the Lord in this magnificent stained glass gives us an opportunity to reflect on the great gift the Holy Family of Mary and Joseph is offering to the world. Their gift of Jesus, the Lord remarkably is one that heralds not only the Jewish requirement of presentation for young males into the faith of Judaism, it is also a seminal moment for all peoples that have in the past or will in the future faithfully believe in the Father’s promise of salvation and redemption for all peoples.

This poignant scene reminds all of us that the unfolding of Jesus’ life brings many significant events that affect the life of the Holy Family. Jesus still a baby is presented to Simeon and Anna by Mary and Joseph who will frantically search for the child Jesus, presumed lost but actually discussing scriptural passages with the elders. Later, after the crucifixion the proverbial, Temple of the Lord’s Body Mary once again presents Her Son to the world through the Cross.

Our prayerful meditation as we contemplate this scene is to rejoice in the celebration of Jesus’ presentation to the entire world. For the enigmatic characters of Simeon and Anna, the Presentation of Jesus signals the end of their long perseverance through Roman persecution, false Messiahs and feigned expectations of salvation. Their dreams of spiritual fulfillment are realized and the new age of salvation history is unfolding directly before them. Simeon with his invocation, “Now , Master, your servant can go in peace for I have seen the salvation of your people- the salvation promised to our forefathers, “ ushers in a new realization of Messianic fulfillment in Jesus.

The scene gives us a renewed spirit of zeal as Jesus’ ministry is unfolding in this stained glass window. The curtain of the Old Testament symbolized by Simeon and Anna is closing and the revelation of a new theological order is presented by Mary and Joseph’s offering of the small child in the Temple that will change the course of all human life and future events. Jesus’ presentation in the temple is a magnificent representation of the great life’s journey Jesus takes towards fulfilling His Father’s plan of salvation.

The infant Jesus presents hope for the People of Israel because the promise to Moses is fulfilled in Jesus’ birth. The spiritual future of the world is embodied in the infant child, Joseph and Mary together taking up the prophetic mission of revealing the New Covenant to the world. Historical and theological continuity are intertwined with the meeting of Old Testament in Simeon and Anna. Mary and Joseph are representational figures of the New Covenant that is unfolding in the Temple of Jerusalem as Jesus, our hope for the world takes the central focus on the stage of all human history. Jesus’ presentation brings hope for the peoples of all ages, past, present and future.

Hugh J.McNichol is a freelance Catholic author that writes on uniquely Catholic topics and issues. He attended Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he studied both philosophy and theology. He writes frequently at http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com & http://nothing-left-unsaid.blogspot.com . Hugh writes about his Irish Catholic upbringing and educational experiences at http://graysferrygrapevine.blogspot.com . He has contributed works to Catholic News Agency, Catholic Online, The Irish Catholic, Dublin, the British Broadcasting Company, London and the Philadelphia Bulletin, Pewsitter.com and Blogger News Network.

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