Finding Faith: The presentation of Jesus in the temple

This Saturday is the Feast of the Presentation known commonly in years past as Candlemas.

Until the second half of this past century it marked the end of Christmastide. It called to mind the event when the baby Jesus was brought to the temple in Jerusalem for his circumcision (Luke 2:22-40). Joseph and Mary being of limited means offered what was prescribed for the poor, a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons.

This calls to mind the words of the Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”; “five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.” Interestingly the two turtle doves in the song stood for the two Testaments of the Bible.

When Jesus was brought into the temple the world of the Old Testament received its Messiah. The two testaments of the Bible are linked in Jesus. This was seen in the exultation of Simeon, priest of the old covenant (Luke 2:29-32).

He had awaited the coming of the Lord’s anointed, the Messiah, who would establish a new kingdom. The light of the Lord’s anointed would shine forth throughout the world and usher in a glorious day for the people of Israel.

Jesus didn’t come to supplant the faith of Israel (Matt 5:17). He came to bring it to completion. Jesus wasn’t here to extinguish the flame of faith among the Jewish people, but to cause that flame to burn more brightly so that all might see it and be saved.

This is why anti-Semitism among Christians is ridiculous and born of ignorance.

The Jewish people according to the Word of God are our elder brethren; keepers of the faith which Jesus came to enter into and bring to fulfillment.

Thus, we celebrate that day when a Jewish couple brought the child Jesus to the temple to fulfill the requirements of the Law.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Fr. Joseph Orr of Holy Spirit Catholic Parish, Lock Haven.

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