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The entrance of Christ to the Temple.

Jesus, the Lord of the law and the maker of the rules of our universe, went voluntarily with his mother to obey the Mosaic Law, i.e. the law of circumcision and expiation, as it was prescribed in the book of Leviticus [1] 12:6-8.

Saint Luke [2:22-23] tells us that “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”. Today, the Most Holy One, stands with his mother the purest of all, in the shoes of sinners, they offer the offering of poor people, in order to give a lesson in lowering ourselves under the jaw of his divine law, where we are at safety from pride.

Saint Luke [2:26-39] links well this event of the presentation of Our Lord to the Temple of His Father, to the rest of the Economy of Salvation, he explains that

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: ‘Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.’

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

This prophecy was fulfilled in Mary, Jesus’ mother, when her heart was pierced by the sword of sorrow and pain, as she was standing up at the feet of the cross, sharing her Son in his passion and the mystery of our redemption. After that Mary and Joseph paid the five pieces of silver [2] as the law commends the poor families to do. Then, after fulfilling their religious obligations, they turned back to their hometown in Nazareth.

The celebration of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus to the Temple goes back in the history of the Church to the year 541. The Church established the rite of blessing of the candles that goes with this feast, to remind us of the words of Simeon the elder that Jesus is sent by the Father, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” This rite of the light brings us back also to commemorate the fact that Jesus is the light of the world [Cf. John 8:12]. May God bestow on us the blessing of this feast, and allow us in to rejoice in its everlasting light.

[1] [Lev 12:6] "When the days of her purification for a son or for a daughter are fulfilled, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the meeting tent a yearling lamb for a holocaust and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.

[Lev 12:7] The priest shall offer them up before the LORD to make atonement for her, and thus she will be clean again after her flow of blood. Such is the law for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl child.

[Lev 12:8] If, however, she cannot afford a lamb, she may take two turtledoves or two pigeons, the one for a holocaust and the other for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for her, and thus she will again be clean."

[2] Personally, I don’t understand wherefrom the author of the Maronite Sinksar came up with this payment of 5 silver denarius. Neither Lev. 12:6-8, nor Luke 2:24 mentioned anything about money offering! Probably that was a later Jewish tradition, requiring an extra money offering, for the priest performing the circumcision.