Memory of the Church
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Memory of the Church

Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Remembrance of Simeon and Anna, two elderly who waited for the Lord with faith. Prayer for the elderly. Memorial of the centurion Cornelius, the first pagan who was converted and baptized by Peter. Read more

Memory of the Church
Thursday, February 2

Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Remembrance of Simeon and Anna, two elderly who waited for the Lord with faith. Prayer for the elderly. Memorial of the centurion Cornelius, the first pagan who was converted and baptized by Peter.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 2,22-40

And when the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord- observing what is 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 prescribed 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 the restoration of Israel 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 are letting your servant go in peace as you promised; for my eyes have seen the salvation which you have made ready in the sight of the nations; a light of revelation for the gentiles and glory for your people Israel. As the child's father and mother were wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed- and a sword will pierce your soul too -- so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.' There was a prophetess, too, 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 up 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. And as the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom; and God's favour was with him.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Forty days have passed since Christmas, and today the Church celebrates feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. Jesus is presented as the "light of the nations." The Lord is coming to illuminate our lives and the life of our world. The hearts of many are still plunged in darkness, but the liturgy shows us the Lord, still a Child, who encounters the people. Who recognizes him? The Gospel speaks of an elderly man named Simeon, who was "looking forward to the consolation of Israel," and did not resign himself to the darkness of the present world. He was old and yet he let himself be guided by the Spirit, as the Gospel notes. He was sure he would not die before seeing the Messiah, the Christ. In his old age, Simeon let prophecy guide him: he has an attentive, vigilant heart, and does not follow his own complaints, as we do even when we are less old. When Simeon sees Jesus, he takes him in his arms and sings all of his wonder: "Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation." Simeon's eyes are enlightened by that Child. Jesus' light takes away the shade of fear of death and Simeon who feels "full of days" can go in peace towards the passage of death. He prophesizes to Mary that the Child will be a sign of contradiction: he will ask all to change their lives. There will be those who welcome him and will be in joy and those who will oppose him and will lose themselves. There is then the witness of Anna, a widow and elderly of eighty-four. She was living in the temple, in prayer. She too recognizes the child as the Messiah and since that moment begins to tell the good news to everyone in the temple. The encounter between the Son of God and his people passes also through two elderly people. The humble Simeon and the widow Anna recognize him, welcome him and show his light. One gives thanks and concludes peacefully his life, the other begins to communicate him to all. In this encounter everything can change, as the lives of those two elderly people. Today they are ahead of us as teachers of faith.

Prayer is the heart of the life of the Community of Sant'Egidio and is its absolute priority. At the end of the day, every the Community of Sant'Egidio, large or small, gathers around the Lord to listen to his Word. The Word of God and the prayer are, in fact, the very basis of the whole life of the Community. The disciples cannot do other than remain at the feet of Jesus, as did Mary of Bethany, to receive his love and learn his ways (Phil. 2:5).
So every evening, when the Community returns to the feet of the Lord, it repeats the words of the anonymous disciple: " Lord, teach us how to pray". Jesus, Master of prayer, continues to answer: "When you pray, say: Abba, Father". It is not a simple exhortation, it is much more. With these words Jesus lets the disciples participate in his own relationship with the Father. Therefore in prayer, the fact of being children of the Father who is in heaven, comes before the words we may say So praying is above all a way of being! That is to say we are children who turn with faith to the Father, certain that they will be heard.
Jesus teaches us to call God "Our Father". And not simply "Father" or "My Father". Disciples, even when they pray on their own, are never isolated nor they are orphans; they are always members of the Lord's family.
In praying together, beside the mystery of being children of God, there is also the mystery of brotherhood, as the Father of the Church said: "You cannot have God as father without having the church as mother". When praying together, the Holy Spirit assembles the disciples in the upper room together with Mary, the Lord's mother, so that they may direct their gaze towards the Lord's face and learn from Him the secret of his Heart.
 The Communities of Sant'Egidio all over the world gather in the various places of prayer and lay before the Lord the hopes and the sufferings of the tired, exhausted crowds of which the Gospel speaks ( Mat. 9, 3:7 ), In these ancient crowds we can see the huge masses of the modern cities, the millions of refugees who continue to flee their countries, the poor, relegated to the very fringe of life and all those who are waiting for someone to take care of them. Praying together includes the cry, the invocation, the aspiration, the desire for peace, the healing and salvation of the men and women of this world. Prayer is never in vain; it rises ceaselessly to the Lord so that anguish is turned into hope, tears into joy, despair into happiness, and solitude into communion. May the Kingdom of God come soon among people!