Prepare for Sunday Mass: Insights into the presentation of Jesus

Each week in OSV Newsweekly, Carl Olson provides a thoughtful, relevant reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday in his "Opening the Word" column. The following is just an excerpt, but you can read the entire column here.

From Carl Olson:

The Gospel of Luke contains many details and stories about the infancy of Jesus not found elsewhere. Today’s Gospel reading is one such story, an account of the presentation of Jesus in the temple and the prayer-response of Simeon. Luke, ever the careful and polished historian, provides a wealth of detail about this important event, offering insights into the person and mission of Jesus, the faith of Joseph and Mary, and God’s plan of salvation.

Jesus had been circumcised and named on his eighth day (Lk 2:21). Thirty-three days later, he was taken to the temple to be consecrated, as was prescribed by the “law of the Lord” (cf. Lev 12:2-8; Ex 13:2). In fact, the observance of the law is front and center; this is first time the law is mentioned by Luke, and five of his nine references to the law are found in this relatively short story.

Although Luke wrote for a Gentile audience, he never cut corners in emphasizing the centrality of the Jewish beliefs and traditions, knowing full well how fundamental they were to the person and work of the Christ. Jesus came to save Israel, and part of doing so meant keeping the law perfectly.

Read Olson's entire column to prepare for Sunday Mass.

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.