Presentation of the Lord 2021
“There are three that bear witness: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” (1 Jn 5:7)
Today, the Holy Spirit leads Simeon to the temple. The old man goes to the Temple “in the Spirit”, in the light and the strength which the Spirit bestows. Anna, too, seems to be filled with the Spirit: she announces the good news of the redemption of Israel. Simeon prophecies, he blesses, he praises, he raises his voice in a canticle of praise. Anna and he speak of peace and consolation. There is joy and exultation for all hearts.
As for Mary and Joseph, they obey the Spirit of the Law. They are filled with the Spirit of discipleship and obedience. They offer the first-born Son, the redeemed One who is also the Redeemer. They welcome silently, with amazement and with gratitude, the words concerning the Child. They have the eyes and the ears of the heart fully open to the divine light which fills this encounter with glory.
The Spirit bears witness by gathering these four faithful Jews together around the little Child. He is at work building the Church as the community gathered around Christ, announcing His salvation to the world, and praising God in thanksgiving.
The Son is in this new-born Child. He says nothing; He does nothing. He is presented to God by His parents and manifested to Israel and the Gentiles by Simeon and Anna. The Son manifests Himself in His deepest identity: begotten by the Father, born of the Father, receiving from Him all that He is, He is the Son of the Father: this is His name and His glory.
The glory of the Son is revealed in the weakness of the flesh: “The Word became flesh and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14). His presence is a gift, for the Child is presented and offered in order to be given: “Of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.”
The gift and the offering of the Son already have the shape of a sacrificial offering. The eyes of faith discern in Him the new Isaac, the lamb of the sacrifice, the redeemer who reconciles the world by shedding His own blood. Like Isaac on the wood, like the lamb, the Son is silent. He manifests by His silence His acceptance of God’s mysterious design. He let Himself be offered, given, for the redemption of the world. The Son bears witness by His silent offering.
All this happens in the Temple of the Lord, which is the dwelling place of God the Father, the place where His Name abides. According to the law of the Lord, fulfilled in the Spirit of the Lord, the Anointed of the Lord is offered to the Lord and manifested to Simeon for the consolation of Israel and the illumination of the Gentiles. The Light, the Gift, the Glory come from beyond the Spirit and the Son; they point to the Father of lights. In His light, all are led into the inner Temple, the place where God, the Father, dwells. “No one has seen God”. The Father is not visible, but revealed in the offering, which is directed to Him, and in the gift, which comes from Him. The Father bears witness through His Son offered in sacrifice and through the Spirit bestowed as the Gift.
“There are three that bear witness: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” Today we welcome the glorious Light of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. This light has come into the world to heal us from our sins, to open us to God’s gift, and to invite us into the eternal communion in truth and love which we adore as the mystery of the Holy Trinity. At our baptism, we have been clothed with this light. In the darkness of the present age, may the light of the Child, the light of the Holy Trinity, give us profound consolation, deep peace and joyful hope.