I am not sure what is most helpful to put on this weekly “homily studio” posting. I am happy to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
Sunday 2 February, Presentation of the Lord
The US Bishops’ website has some helpful homily suggestions for each Sunday, and some help with Prayers of Intercession at this link USCCB Homilies
Pope Benedict on the Feast of the Presentation 2013 at this link.
Some of my own thoughts:
- The Rosary was one of the prayers that went out of common practice in the years after the Council, but anyone who knew the Rosary knew that the fourth Joyful mystery was not just the Presentation of the Lord, but the Presentation of the Lord IN THE TEMPLE. This is today’s feast – and the TEMPLE is at the heart of the feast. In his reflection (above) Fr. Barron gives a good overview of the centrality of the Temple. Joseph and Mary were not just presenting their new child to family and friends, but dedicating their child to God. In this action they were acknowledging that the child is not their possession, but as with every human life, always belongs to God. The parents co-operate with God in the work of creation by (as instruments of the child’s creator) forming their child in the practice of faith (to use the words of the Rite of Baptism).
- The Nunc Dimittis is the canticle of compline (Night Prayer) in the prayer of the Church. This is the prayer of a satisfied man at the end of his life; satisfied not because of anything that he has achieved, but because his ‘eyes have seen the promised salvation’. This satisfaction is the deepest desire of every human person. At night prayer we take the moment of this prayer to remind ourselves of this fundamental fact. Every night we enter the death of sleep. Remember the child’s night prayer that is also the ideal adult’s night prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Some monks would take this further: as young novice monks they would build their coffin, and every night for the rest of their lives they would sleep in it – Night prayer is really a preparation for death: brief examination of conscience, act of contrition, and the Nunc Dimittis. Try it, you may find that the quality of your sleep improves, and one of these nights when death does come, you will be ready.