Monday, February 2, 2015

She Gave Thanks

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Single-Heartedness Minute Meditations
What matters is not spirituality, not religion, not perfection, not success or failure or this or that, but simply God, and freedom in His Spirit. All the rest is pure stupidity.
— from Simply Merton

Presentation of the Lord


At the end of the fourth century, a woman named Etheria made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her journal, discovered in 1887, gives an unprecedented glimpse of liturgical life there. Among the celebrations she describes is the Epiphany (January 6), the observance of Christ's birth, and the gala procession in honor of his Presentation in the Temple 40 days later—February 15. (Under the Mosaic Law, a woman was ritually "unclean" for 40 days after childbirth, when she was to present herself to the priests and offer sacrifice—her "purification." Contact with anyone who had brushed against mystery—birth or death—excluded a person from Jewish worship.) This feast emphasizes Jesus' first appearance in the Temple more than Mary's purification.

The observance spread throughout the Western Church in the fifth and sixth centuries. Because the Church in the West celebrated Jesus' birth on December 25, the Presentation was moved to February 2, 40 days after Christmas.

At the beginning of the eighth century, Pope Sergius inaugurated a candlelight procession; at the end of the same century the blessing and distribution of candles which continues to this day became part of the celebration, giving the feast its popular name: Candlemas.


In Luke's account, Jesus was welcomed in the temple by two elderly people, Simeon and the widow Anna. They embody Israel in their patient expectation; they acknowledge the infant Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. Early references to the Roman feast dub it the feast of St. Simeon, the old man who burst into a song of joy which the Church still sings at day's end.


"Christ himself says, 'I am the light of the world.' And we are the light, we ourselves, if we receive it from him.... But how do we receive it, how do we make it shine? ...he candle tells us: by burning, and being consumed in the burning. A spark of fire, a ray of love, an inevitable immolation are celebrated over that pure, straight candle, as, pouring forth its gift of light, it exhausts itself in silent sacrifice" (Paul VI).

Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.


"Be still and know that I am God."
Lord, Your words lead us to the
calmness and greatness of Your Presence.


It is so easy to get caught up
with the trappings of wealth in this life.
Grant, O Lord, that I may be free
from greed and selfishness.
Remind me that the best things in life are free.
Love, laughter, caring and sharing


How do I find myself today?
Where am I with God? With others?
Do I have something to be grateful for?
Then I give thanks.
Is there something I am sorry for?
Then I ask forgiveness.

The Word of God

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Lectionary: 524

Reading 1 Mal 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 Ps 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R. (8) Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Reading 2 Heb 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.

Alleluia Lk 2:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Lk 2:22-40

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."

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
"Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.


Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Catholic Meditations

Meditation: Luke 2:22-40

View NAB Reading at


The Presentation of the Lord

It had been revealed to him ... that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. (Luke 2:26)

Do babies ever get switched at birth? There have been times when a baby was accidently given to the wrong family at the hospital. It's rare, especially now that many hospitals have special procedures in place to reduce such risks, but mistakes still happen. Sometimes, even the parents can't spot their own child in a crowded nursery!

So imagine the challenge that poor Simeon had. He spent years at the Temple waiting for a special baby that he had never met. And he had no idea what that baby would look like. All he knew was that he would not die before he had laid eyes on Israel's Messiah.

But Simeon wasn't in too helpless a situation. He had a secret helper who could point out the Messiah no matter how crowded the Temple became. So as Simeon scanned the faces and waited to catch a glimpse of the promised One, he knew that the Holy Spirit would nudge him toward just the right person. Patiently he waited. Carefully he looked. And trustingly he listened.

The Holy Spirit is doing the same thing for us today that he did for Simeon so long ago. And he's doing it on a much larger scale. Back then, he helped Simeon spot the Messiah in the face of one infant. But today, he is helping us see Christ in the eyes of every person we meet. He is helping us see the dignity and value of everyone around us because they all bear the image and likeness of Christ. Whether it's the new baby crying loudly during Mass on Sunday, the reclusive neighbor down the street, the co-worker with the offensive political views, or the kindly cashier at the market—each of them reflects the Lord in one way or another. Each of them is a unique revelation of who God is and how he works. And that means each of them is worthy of your respect.

May the Holy Spirit open our eyes to see Christ today.

"Lord, help me take time to look into the faces of your people today. Teach me to value each person as a child of God."

Malachi 3:1-4
Psalm 24:7-10
Hebrews 2:14-18


Today's 5minutos said:
 "We discover a very beautiful message today: Encountering in Jesus the resting of our desires, the joy of Him who we were awaiting.  It is called a feast of light because Christ is "light to shine on all nations and glory of His people Israel" St. Luke 2:32... They were five blind brothers, all of certain age.  They lived in the city of San Carlos.  The nights and days were the same for them.  But those turned off eyes did not impede that from their countenance to radiate an indefinable shining, and a contagious loveliness.  Antonio was the most talkative.  Leaning in his armchair, with a complete rosary in his hand, recounted his story to a missionary.  "I've been blind for 31 years and I am very happy in this chair.  In 1940 I was blind, but I rebelled against my affliction.  We had redemptive missions in our city.  The preachings of the missonary came to our house through a loudspeaker, and it crossed my window into my room.   Sitting in my chair, I began to listen with much indifference.  Suddenly my heart began to get soft.  Before I found out, I was on my knees on the floor, giving thanks to God for my blindness.  The eyes of the body continued to be blind, but the eyes of my faith began to open.  Those blessed missionaries had ignited a light in my life.  Here I am more than thirty years, every time more happy.  I spend my time praying.  I am able to pray many complete rosaries during the day."
Today's Holy Scriptures are powerful.  It began with a prophecy (1st reading), then introduces the Glory of God (the Psalms) and then explains the Glory (2nd reading) and then the prophecies are fulfilled in the Holy Gospel.  Ultimately, the Savior is born and gives light for our dark world.  I hesitated to translate the 5minutos, but here is why (Holy Spirit Guides).  I could speak for hours on the beauty of the Scriptures, but the point of my 2 cents is on how to apply to our faith and not leave it the Word of God on the shelf.  And so the Word of God reached the blind man, not because of his blindness but because the blind had never experienced God and this is what He came to shine on, a dark world that can not see the light. 
Last night, the winners of the super-bowl NFL game lined up as they processed the football shaped trophy.  The people lined up as it processed through with a towel (to wipe it clean I guess) and people, players, would touch it as it came by, some kissed it and then they raised it up at the end, a silver football shaped ... idol.  Don't get me wrong, but to me, things are black and white.  Don't get me wrong, I know we are all "Christians", but there is a real danger of making idols in our lives, and this following of idols is following into darkness.  Right before the awards there were fist fights, and the news spoke about sex trafficking that the event would bring.  Darkness prevails at the event that kept so many enthusiasts...enthused.  And they leave with nothing.  Shall I say there shouldn't be sports or anything but God?  Yes, in our hearts yes.  Because at the moment they processed with great joy and kissed and wiped that "thing" I was flashed into the moments in our church during Holy Week, when we process to the cross and kiss it and then they wipe it.  Immediately I knew what my goal and trophy and life are all about...Jesus. 
Last week, my cousin said they had a hard time asking their high school daughter to give up a UIL contest to attend a Church event, a YOUTH 2000 search deal.  She finally went out of obedience, missed the UIL, but had an experience with a processed God...and she was said to have done nothing but cry all weekend (God touched her soul).  My oh my, look how we live a lie, and then we cry. The lie is of the world saying other things are most important, but God introduces the light in the presentation...Jesus.  He is amazing my child.  Mary our Mother came to consecrate ther baby boy, and indeed He was, already Holy, and in turn, She was.  This consecration continues to this day.  God is made human in the Holy Mass.  The priest?  Yes.  The Eucharist, Yes, especially when God encounters man.  The encounter of the blind man leads to life.  The encounter with The encounter with my cousin's daughter softens the heart.  Jesus leads us all to life.  I've been having/leading co-worker bible studies for a couple of years now.  Only one has responded to the call, he is now in RCIA class to become Catholic.  The others...not yet (they are already Catholic and don't come to an encounter with the heart).  And so the call is constantly there, the message of the missionary is constantly on.  For as long as we live, the presentation is there.
You are being presented the God of the Universe and beyond.  Be blind no more.  God wants in your soul, to kiss Him, Love Him, and Hold Him High Above everything and anyone in this world...and when you do this...the light is no longer in hiding.

I present to you JESUS CHRIST
my life.....