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  Word To Life


Sunday Scripture Readings, Feb. 2, 2014

By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service

February 2, Presentation of the Lord

Cycle A. Readings:

1) Malachi 3:1-4

Psalm 24:7-10

2) Hebrews 2:14-18

Gospel: Luke 2:22-40 or Luke 2:22-32

We don't get many visitors to our home, so I'm always startled when the doorbell rings when I'm not expecting company. Since chances are good that the visitor is not someone I know or recognize, I'm pretty cautious about opening the front door before I've used the peephole to assess the person and the situation. The assumption is that I -- like most other people with closed front doors -- have the final say about who gains entry.

It's a different story at my office, where the open door policy reigns supreme, and the only advance notice I get of a visitor is the sound of footsteps in a hallway seconds before a face appears. There I assume that 90 percent of the time the face belongs to someone I know, so no peephole is necessary. The other 10 percent are screened by the receptionist before they make it down the hall. Open doors mean that co-workers and visitors are welcome and even interruptions are accepted as a normal part of the day's work.

In the Gospel for the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, an unassuming Nazarene couple comes to the Jerusalem temple to present their firstborn son to the Lord, according to the law of Moses.

They're hardly distinguishable from any other new parents, but therein lies the irony. According to the prophet Malachi, that newborn is "the messenger of the covenant" who comes to purify the temple and its priests so that the sacrifice they offer is once more pleasing to the Lord. It's a disruption of the status quo, surely -- but one that is welcomed joyfully by Simeon and Anna, who recognize the salvation of the Lord in the child who is presented.

Psalm 24 states it clearly, "Lift up, O gates, your lintels; reach up, you ancient portals," commanding Jerusalem to let the "king of glory" in and even proclaiming his identity ("It is the Lord!"). No peephole is necessary, no receptionist screening visitors, just a simple declaration that remains largely ignored by those either expecting someone else or not expectant at all.

If Simeon and Anna recognized him, it is because they both were people of prayer and single-minded expectation, filled with the Spirit and eager to speak about whom they had seen. Let us follow their example and recognize the King of Glory when he comes.

QUESTIONS:

What are your expectations of the King of Glory? Do you recognize the Lord when he comes in the disruptions of your life?

SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:

"Who is this king of glory? The Lord of hosts; he is the king of glory!" -- Psalm 24:10

END



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