After the Angelus:
Now you can see that I am not alone: I am accompanied by two of you, who came up here. They are brave, these two!
Today we celebrate the World Day for Leprosy. This disease although being eradicated still affects many people in conditions of grave indigence. It is important to remain in active solidarity with these brothers and sisters alive. Let us assure them of our prayer; and let us pray also for those who assist them and who, in different ways, commit themselves to fight this disease.
I am close in prayer to Ukraine, in particular to those who have lost their life in these days and for their families. My wish is that a constructive dialogue may develop between institutions and civil society and, avoiding any recourse to violence, so that the spirit of peace and the quest for the common good may prevail in the hearts of all people!
Today there are so many children in the square! So many! With them I would like to turn our thoughts to Cocò Campolongo, who at three years old was burned in a car in Cassano allo Jonio. Brutality like this to such a little child seems unprecedented in the history of crime. Let us pray with Cocò, who is safe with Jesus in heaven that whoever perpetrated this crime may repent and convert to the Lord.
In the upcoming days, millions of people who live in the Far East or in other parts of the world, including the Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese will be celebrating the lunar new year. I wish all of them a life full of joy and hope. May the irrepressible yearning for fraternity that dwells in their hearts find in the intimacy of the family a privileged place where it can be discovered, taught and realized. This will be a precious contribution to the building of a more humane world where peace reigns.
Now I turn to the boys and girls of Catholic Action of the Diocese of Rome! Dear children, this year again, accompanied by the Cardinal Vicar, many of you have come at the end of your “Caravan of Peace”. Thank you! Thank you so much! Now let’s listen to the message that your friends next to me are going to read.
[The children read the message.]
And now these two good children will release the doves — symbols of peace.
I wish everyone a happy Sunday and good lunch. Goodbye!
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Pope Francis I, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
1st Reading: Extracted from the prophet Malachi 3:1-4
The Lord God says this: Look, I am going to send my messenger to prepare a way before me.
And the Lord you are seeking will suddenly enter his Temple; and the angel of the covenant whom you are longing for, yes, he is coming, says the Lord of Hosts.
Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire and the fullers’ alkali. He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and then they will make the offering to the Lord as it should be made.
The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be welcomed by the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.
Summarized from Approved Church Commentary:
The messenger is John the Baptist. God’s justice will be enacted upon the community through a judgement that both eliminates social abuses and purifies the Levites.
See how Yahweh God saved the Israelites from slavery & fight their oppressors
See how God’s Angels saved His people from danger & harm > Encouragements-47.
Responsorial : Psalm 24:7-10
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all it contains, the world and all who live there;
2 it is he who laid its foundations on the seas, on the flowing waters fixed it firm.
3 Who shall go up to the mountain of Yahweh? Who shall take a stand in his holy place?
4 The clean of hands and pure of heart, whose heart is not set on vanities, who does not swear an oath in order to deceive.
5 Such a one will receive blessing from Yahweh, saving justice from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the people that seeks him, that seeks your presence, God of Jacob.
7 Gates, lift high your heads, raise high the ancient gateways, and the king of glory shall enter!
8 Who is he, this king of glory? It is Yahweh, strong and valiant, Yahweh valiant in battle.
9 Gates, lift high your heads, raise high the ancient gateways, and the king of glory shall enter!
10 Who is he, this king of glory? Yahweh Sabaoth, he is the king of glory.
2nd Reading: Extracted from the Sermon-Hebrews 2:14-18
Since all the children share the same blood and flesh, Christ too shared equally in it, so that by his death he could take away all the power of the devil, who had power over death, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.
For it was not the angels that he took to himself; he took to himself descent from Abraham.
It was essential that he should in this way become completely like his brothers so that he could be a compassionate and trustworthy high priest of God’s religion, able to atone for human sins.
That is, because he has himself been through temptation he is able to help others who are tempted.
Gospel Reading: Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 2:22-40
When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace,
just as you promised;
because my eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all the nations to see,
a light to enlighten the pagans
and the glory of your people Israel.’
As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’
There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.
It was the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple on 2 February 2014.
The Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day are shown above.
We have extracted the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF JESUS IN THE TEMPLE
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Monday, 2 February 1998
1. Lumen ad revelationem gentium! “Light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32).
These words resound in the temple of Jerusalem, as 40 days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph prepare to “present him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22). By emphasizing the contrast between the modest, humble action of the two parents and the glory of the event as perceived by Simeon and Anna, the Evangelist Luke apparently wants to suggest that the temple itself is waiting for the Child’s coming. In fact, in the prophetic attitude of the two elderly people, the entire Old Covenant expresses the joy of the meeting with the Redeemer.
Simeon and Anna go to the temple both longing for the Messiah, both inspired by the Holy Spirit, as Mary and Joseph take Jesus there in obedience to the precepts of the law. At the sight of the Child, they sense that it is truly he, the Awaited One, and Simeon, as if in ecstasy, proclaims: “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which your 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).
2. Lumen ad revelationem gentium!
With his inspired words, Simeon, a man of the Old Covenant, a man of the temple of Jerusalem, expresses his conviction that this Light is meant not only for Israel, but also for pagans and all the peoples of the earth. With him, the “aged” world receives in its arms the splendour of God’s eternal “youth”. However, the shadow of the Cross already looms in the background, because the darkness will reject that Light. Indeed, turning to Mary, Simeon prophesies: “This child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).
3. Lumen ad revelationem gentium!
The words of Simeon’s canticle ring out in many temples of the New Covenant, where every evening Christ’s disciples finish the Liturgy of the Hours by praying Compline. In this way the Church, the people of the New Covenant, takes as it were the last word of the Old Covenant and proclaims the fulfilment of the divine promise, announcing that the “light for revelation to the Gentiles” has spread over all the earth and is present everywhere in Christ’s redemptive work.
Together with the Canticle of Simeon, the Liturgy of the Hours has us repeat Christ’s last words on the Cross: In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum — “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (cf. Luke 23:46). It also invites us to contemplate with wonder and gratitude the saving action of Christ, “light for revelation to the Gentiles”, for the sake of mankind: Redemisti nos, Domine, Deus veritatis — “You have redeemed us, Lord, God of truth”.
In this way the Church proclaims the fulfilment of the world’s Redemption, awaited by the prophets and announced by Simeon in the temple of Jerusalem.
4. Lumen ad revelationem gentium!
Today, with our lighted candles, we too go to meet him who is “the Light of the world” and we welcome him in his Church with the full enthusiasm of our baptismal faith. Everyone who sincerely professes this faith is promised the final, definitive “meeting” with the Lord in his kingdom. In Polish tradition, as well in that of other nations, these blessed candles have a special meaning because, after they have been brought home, they are lit in times of danger, during storms and disasters, as a sign of entrusting oneself, one’s family and all one possesses to God’s protection. This is the reason why these candles are called gromnice in Polish, that is, candles which avert lightning and protect against evil, and why this feast is called Candlemas (literally: St Mary of the Candles [“gromnice”]).
Even more eloquent is the custom of putting the candle blessed on this day in the hands of a Christian on his deathbed, that it may illumine his last steps on the way to eternity. This practice is meant to show that, by following the light of faith, the dying person is waiting to enter the eternal dwelling place, where there is no longer “need of light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light” (cf. Revelations 22:5).
Today’s responsorial psalm also refers to this entry into the kingdom of light: “Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals, that the Lord of glory may come in” (Psalm 23 :7).
These words refer directly to Jesus Christ, who enters the temple of the Old Covenant in his parents’ arms, but we can also apply them to every believer who crosses the threshold of eternity, carried in the arms of the Church. Believers accompany his last journey by praying: “Let perpetual light shine on him!”, so that the angels and saints may welcome him, and Christ, Redeemer of man, may surround him with his eternal light.
5. Dear brothers and sisters, today we celebrate the Second Day of Consecrated Life, which is meant to arouse renewed concern in the Church for the gift of vocations to the consecrated life. Dear men and women religious, dear members of secular institutes and societies of apostolic life, the Lord has called you to follow him in a closer and more exceptional way! In our times, dominated by secularism and materialism, by your total and definitive gift of self to Christ you are a sign of an alternative life to the logic of the world, because it is radically inspired by the Gospel and oriented to future eschatological realities. Always remain faithful to this special vocation!
Today I would like once again to express my esteem and affection to you. I first greet Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, who is presiding over this Eucharistic celebration. Together with him I greet the members of that dicastery and everyone who actively serves consecrated life. I am thinking especially of you, young aspirants to the consecrated life, of you, men and women already professed in various religious congregations and secular institutes, of you who because of advanced age or illness are called to offer the valuable contribution of your sufferings to the cause of evangelization. To you all, I repeat in the words of the Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata: “You know the one in whom you have put your trust (cf. 2 Timothy 1:12): give him everything! ... Live faithfully your commitment to God, in mutual edification and mutual support.... Do not forget that you, in a very special way, can and must say that you not only belong to Christ but that ‘you have become Christ’” (n. 109).
The lighted candles carried by each person in the first part of this solemn liturgy show the watchful expectation of the Lord which should mark every believer’s life, and particularly the life of those whom the Lord calls to a special mission in the Church. They are a strong reminder to bear witness in the world to Christ, the light that never fades: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Dear brothers and sisters, may your total fidelity to the poor, chaste and obedient Christ be a source of light and hope for everyone you meet.
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9 February 2014