The Holy Family – Year B

Posté par diaconos le 21 décembre 2023


The Holy Family Painting by Unknown artist - Fine Art America

The holy Family

# The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is an event in the life of Jesus recounted in the Gospel according to Luke. Fulfilling a prescription of Jewish law - « Every first-born male child shall be consecrated to the Lord » (Ex 13, 2,11-13) – the parents of the baby Jesus presented him and offered him in the Temple in Jerusalem. There he was received by the elderly Simeon. The related Christian feast is celebrated on two February in the Gregorian calendar. In the Eastern Churches it is also celebrated on two February in the Julian calendar, which is equivalent to 14 February in the Gregorian calendar.

For a long time, two February was an important date for peasants, remembered by a large number of proverbs. This date is traditionally Candlemas, originally a pagan festival celebrating light, replaced by the Christian holiday. Candlemas is also a theme in religious iconography, both in paintings and miniatures, sculptures, stained glass windows, tapestries and so on. It is inspired by a scene described in the Gospel of Luke II, 22-39, in which the son of the Virgin Mary is announced by Simeon as the Master and the light who will bring revelation to the Gentiles, i.e. non-Jews. 

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Luke

When the time prescribed by the Law of Moses for purification had elapsed, Jesus’ parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the Law: Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to the Lord. They also came to offer the sacrifice prescribed by the Law of the Lord : a pair of turtledoves or two doves. In Jerusalem there was a man called Simeon. He was a righteous and religious man who awaited the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him. The Holy Spirit had told him that he would not see death until he had seen Christ, the Messiah of the Lord.

Under the influence of the Spirit, Simeon went to the Temple. As the parents presented the child Jesus to fulfil the rite of the Law concerning him, Simeon received him into his arms and blessed God, saying : Now, O sovereign Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word. The term prophetess indicates that, like Simeon, Anna had received the spirit of prophecy, thanks to which she too recognised the promised Saviour in the child and glorified God. Luke also praises her by pointing out that, after a short marriage, she lived a long widowhood until the age of eighty-four, an age considered very honourable among Jews.

She attended religious services in the evening and in the morning before dawn, or spent part of her nights in prayer. Luke did not mention several facts reported by Matthew : the visit of the Magi, the flight to Egypt, the killing of the children of Bethlehem, either because these facts did not fit into his plan or because he ignored them. It must be admitted, says M. Godet, that the two evangelists each wrote without knowing the book of the other. Negative critics have hastened to declare the two accounts irreconcilable.

It has forgotten that during the forty days between Jesus’ birth and his presentation in the temple, many events took place in Bethlehem. He has forgotten that the return of the holy family to Nazareth did not take place after the presentation in the temple. The journey to Egypt followed the presentation and the family did not settle in Nazareth until after the return from Egypt: Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, went to the land of Israel and came to dwell in a town called Nazareth, so that the saying of the prophets would be fulfilled : « He shall be called Nazareth » (Mt 2, 23)

The events narrated follow each other in a natural way and the two narratives complement each other. Wisdom, which encompasses knowledge of God and man, in its practical application to life, was the salient characteristic of the character of the child Jesus. Jesus went through all the stages of a normal development, the only one that took place on earth, the only one that was free from all deleterious effects of evil and pursued harmoniously through constant communion with God.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

Loyola Press : Click here to read the paper → Texts -The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Cycle B

The Ignatius Pew missal : Click here to read the paper → Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Year B)

Video Father Fernando Armelini : Click here to watch the video →

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