The podcast of the full programme is available HERE.
The second part of the interview from this weeks programme is available HERE.
You can listen to the first part of the interview from last weeks programme HERE.
You can listen to the full interview with Ed and Fiona HERE.
Gospel - Luke 2:22-40- Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
The old man carried the child, but the child was the old man's Lord. The Virgin gave birth to the child yet remained a virgin for ever. She knelt in worship before her child
- Magnificat Antiphon Vespers I,
Presentation of the Lord (reflection here)
The Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd commemorating when Joseph and Mary brought the infant Jesus to the Temple forty days after his birth to perform the ritual of purification. It is commonly referred as Candlemas, since the blessing and procession of candles is included in today's liturgy.
In ancient Israel the Temple was the most important place in the world. It was the dwelling place of the Lord; it was where divinity and humanity embraced. But the nation of Israel had gone away from right worship of God. The Christ child is the divine and human in one and thus brings humanity back on line with God.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, 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."
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:
Word on Fire
Pope Francis homily for the feast of the presentation
"The Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is also known as the Feast of the Encounter: the encounter between Jesus and his people. The liturgy tells of when Mary and Joseph brought their child to the Temple in Jerusalem; it is when the first encounter between Jesus and his people took place. This day is also called the Feast of Encounter because on it the New Testament, represented by the Baby Jesus, encountered the Old Testament, represented by Simeon and Anna.
He points out it was also a meeting between the young and the elderly: the young were Mary and Joseph with their infant, and the elders were Simeon and Anna, two characters who always attended the Temple.
We observe what the evangelist Luke tells us of them, as he describes them. He says four times that Our Lady and St Joseph wanted to do what was required by the law of the Lord (cf. Luke 2, 18.104.22.168). One perceives that Jesus' parents have the joy of observing the precepts of God, the joy of walking according to the law of the Lord! They are two newlyweds, they have just had their baby, and they are motivated by the desire to do what is prescribed. This is not an external fact; it is not just to feel right, no! It ' a strong desire, a deep desire, full of joy. That’s what the Psalm says: "I rejoice in following your statutes…. Your law is my delight (119, 14.77).
And what does St. Luke says of the elderly? He underlines, more than once, that they were guided by the Holy Spirit. He says Simeon was a righteous and devout man, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and that "the Holy Spirit was upon him" (2:25). He says that "the Holy Spirit had announced "that before dying he would see the Christ, the Messiah (v. 26); and finally he went to the Temple “moved by the Spirit “(v. 27). He says Anna was a “prophet” (v. 36), She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying" (v. 37). In short, these two elders are full of life! They are full of life because they are animated by the Holy Spirit, obedient to his action, sensitive to his calls...
And thus, this is the encounter between the Holy Family and the two representatives of the holy people of God. Jesus is at the centre. It is He who moves everything, who attracts all of them to the Temple, the house of his Father.
It is a meeting between young people who are full of joy in observing the Law of the Lord, and the elderly who are filled with joy for the action of the Holy Spirit. It is a unique encounter between observance and prophecy, where young people are the observers and the elderly are prophetic! In fact, if we think carefully, the desire to keep the Law is animated by the Spirit and the prophecy moves forward in the path traced by the Law. Who, more than Mary, is full of the Holy Spirit? Who better is docile than she to its action?
Dear Brothers and Sisters, in the light of this Gospel scene, let us look to consecrated life as an encounter with Christ: it is He who comes to us, led by Mary and Joseph, and we go towards Him guided by the Holy Spirit. But the centre is Him. He moves everything, He draws us to the Temple, to the Church, where we can meet Him, recognize Him, welcome Him, embrace Him.
Jesus comes to us in the Church through the foundational charism of an Institute: it is nice to think of our vocation in this way! Our encounter with Christ took its shape in the Church through the charism of one of its witnesses. This always amazes us and makes us give thanks.
And in the consecrated life we live the encounter between the young and the old, between observation and prophecy. Let’s not see these as two opposing realities! Let us rather allow the Holy Spirit to animate both of them, and a sign of this is joy: the joy of observing, of walking within a rule of life; the joy of being led by the Spirit, never unyielding, never closed, always open to voice of God that speaks, that opens, that leads us and invites us to go towards the horizon.
It's good for the elderly to communicate their wisdom to the young; and is good for the young people to gather this wealth of experience and wisdom, and to carry it forward, not so as to store it in a museum, but to bring it forward addressing the challenges of life, to carry it forward for the sake of respective religious orders and of the whole Church.
May the grace of this mystery, the mystery of the Encounter, enlighten us and comfort us in our journey. Amen.
World Day for Consecrated Life
The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life invites all the Church to reflect on the role of Consecrated Life within the Christian community. Those who choose to live a consecrated life do so for the sake of the gospel.
Some Christian women and men respond to God’s call to become followers of Jesus through profession of vows and a life dedicated to prayer and service. They live out the consecrated life in different ways. Religious sisters, nuns, brothers, religious priests, and monks consecrate their lives through their profession of the evangelical vows and live as part of a community. Single lay people may choose to be consecrated virgins and make private vows to the local bishop as they live out their vocation in various walks of life. Secular institutes are another form of living the consecrated life as single people. Those who become followers of Jesus through the consecrated life bless the Church.
And speaking on the day in which we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life, the Pope said that nuns are great women. He said “they are a gift, the leaven that carries the message of Christ”. “These women – he said – are great!”
The Pope said that the Church and the world needs the witness of religious and consecrated lay people to the love and the mercy of God, and he asked for prayers so that many young people may say “yes” to God who calls them “to consecrate their lives to Him and to be of service to their brothers and sisters”.
Pope Francis recalled .that the year 2015 will be dedicated to Consecrated Life and asked for prayers for this initiative. After the recitation of the Angelus Prayer, Pope Francis reminded those present that in Italy “The Day for Life” is celebrated today with the theme “Generating the Future”. He sent his greetings and encouragement to those committed to the defence of life from its conception to its natural end
Liturgical Odds and Ends
Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 4 - 4th Week in ordinary time
Saints of the Week
February 3rd - St Blaise (Blessing of the Throats)
February 4th - Bl John Speed (martyr)
February 5th - St Agatha
February 6th - Ss Paul Miki & Companions (Martyrs of Japan)
February 7th - St Mel (bishop)
February 8th - St Josephine Bakhita of Sudan