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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted 5 Feb 2020, 03:12 by Our Lady of Fatima Church - White City London   [ updated 5 Feb 2020, 03:12 ]

Once every few years (the last time was in 2014) the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord falls on a Sunday as it does this year and so we are able to make the most of this special feast day. What is the feast of the Presentation, I hear you ask?! According to Jewish law, the firstborn male child belonged to God, and so the parents had to ‘buy him back’ on the 40th day after his birth by offering a sacrifice in the Temple – the meeting place between God and humans on earth. It was in the Temple that men and women could be reconciled to God through the offering of sacrifices. However, the people of Israel had polluted the Temple by being unfaithful in their ways and worship, so that the prophet Ezekiel told them that the glory of the Lord had left the Temple but would return again one day. So one of Israel’s greatest longings (which we hear about in today’s first reading and psalm) was for the glory of the Lord, his living presence among them, to return.

In the Gospel we meet an old man, Simeon, and an old woman, Anna, who have dedicated their lives to faithfully waiting for the return of the Lord, for the coming of the Messiah. Mary and Joseph would hardly have been noticed by the great crowds of people in the Temple on that day, especially as they were a poor couple only able to offer the humblest sacrifice – two pigeons. But through their eyes of faith, both Simeon and Anna recognise the living presence of God in this tiny baby. God has returned to his Temple! They praise God and give thanks that all their faithful watching and waiting has been rewarded. May their humble and unseen lives of prayer and penance encourage us to be people of greater prayer and self-sacrifice so that we, like them, may be open to the promptings of the Spirit. Jesus himself will become the new Temple – now it is in and through him that we are reconciled to God. Through our baptism we become a temple of the Holy Spirit. May we, like Simeon and Anna, praise and thank God for these great gifts. 

With blessings & prayers from Fr Richard, Fr Ephrem & the parish team