The Presentation of the Lord in the Temple
What is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple?
It celebrates Mary and Joseph's offering of Jesus to God to fulfill the Law of the Lord: "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to God”. (Lev. 12:8)
When did this rite take place? When does the Church celebrate this feast?
It took place forty days after Jesus' birth when “the time of their purification has been completed”. (Lk 2:22) This feast falls on the 2nd of February, forty days from Christmas Day.
Where is the Temple located now?
It is located in the Old City of Jerusalem under the Golden Dome of the Rock, the third holiest place for Islam. It was built on top of the Second Temple, the Temple during Jesus’ time, built - in turn - on top of the First Temple of Solomon. The First Temple was built on the Rock of Mt. Moriah, where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. This is the foundation rock of our faith, manifesting how Abraham, our father in the faith, trusted God greatly. (Gen. 22:1-18) The only authentic part left of the Second Temple is the Western Wall, known as the Wailing Wall, the most sacred place for all Jews. (Western Tunnel Tours)
What significant event took place when Jesus was presented in the Temple?
Anna and Simeon, both prophets, recognized the promised Messiah in baby Jesus. The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. (Lk 2:26) Taking the child in his arms, he praised God: "the child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel… “. To Mary, he said a sword would pierce her soul, showing how closely united Mary would be to Jesus’ sacrifice for the salvation of the world! (Lk 2:33-35)
What was the sacrifice offered by Mary and Joseph?
According to the Law, they offered a pair of turtle doves, poor people's offering. (Lk 2:34) Significantly, they also offered the Lamb, rich people's sacrifice: it is the Lamb of God, the pure sacrificial Lamb for the salvation of the world!