FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION
OF THE LORD
Today’s Liturgy shows Jesus who goes out to meet his people.
It is the feast day of encounter.
What does this mean for us? Above all, that we too are called to welcome Jesus who comes to meet us. To encounter him: the God of life is to be encountered every day of our lives; not now and then, but every day. To follow Jesus is not a decision taken once and for all, it is a daily choice. And we do not meet the Lord virtually, but directly, we encounter him in our lives, in the concreteness of life. Otherwise, Jesus becomes only a nice memory of the past. When we welcome him as the Lord of life, however, as the centre and the beating heart of everything, then he is alive and lives anew in us. And what happened in the temple also happens to us: around him everything meets, and life becomes harmonious. With Jesus we find again the courage to carry on and the strength to remain firm. The encounter with the Lord is the source. It is important then to return to the source: to retrace in our mind the decisive moments of encounter with him, to renew our first love, perhaps writing down our love story with the Lord. This would be good for our consecrated life, so that it does not become a time that passes by, but rather a time of encounter.
The encounter which is born of the call culminates in vision. Simeon says: “My eyes have seen your salvation” (Lk 2:30). He sees the Child and he sees salvation. He does not see the Messiah who works miracles, but a small child. He does not see something extraordinary, but Jesus with his parents, who bring a pair of turtledoves or two pigeons to the temple, which is the most humble offering (cf. v. 24). Simeon sees God’s simplicity and welcomes his presence. He is not looking for anything else, is not asking or wanting for something more; it is enough to see the Child and take him in his arms: “nunc dimittis, now let me depart” (cf. v. 29). God, as he, is enough for him. In God he finds the ultimate meaning of his life. This is the vision of consecrated life, a vision that is simple and prophetic in its simplicity, where we keep the Lord before our eyes and between our hands, and not to serve anything else. He is our life, he is our hope, he is our future. Consecrated life consists in this prophetic vision in the Church: it is a gaze that sees God present in the world, even if many do not notice him; it is a voice that says: “God is enough, the rest passes away” it is praise that gushes forth in spite of everything, as the prophetess Anna shows.
This then is the consecrated life: praise which gives joy to God’s people, prophetic vision that reveals what counts. – it’s about new life. It is a living encounter with the Lord in his people. It is a call to the faithful obedience of daily life and to the unexpected surprises from the Spirit. It is a vision of what we need to embrace in order to experience joy: Jesus.
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS