February 2, 2020 The Presentation of the Lord Fr Andy Upah

Feb 3, 2020

February 2, 2020

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Reading 1 MAL 3:1-4

Responsorial Psalm 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R.    Who is this king of glory?  It is the Lord!
Reading 2 HEB 2:14-18

 Alleluia LK 2:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 2:22-40 OR 2:22-32

 

Today is Super Bowl Sunday, and I am pretty excited because I am a Chiefs fan, I’ve been waiting fifty years for this!

Okay, not quite that long, but I have been waiting a long time for it.  I’m a huge sports fan.  As far as professional sports go, I’ve got three primary teams.  Number one is the Chicago Cubs.  My Grandpa Upah was a huge Cubs fan, so I grew up listening to the games with him and watching them on TV occasionally.

Needless to say, I was pretty happy when they won the World Series back in 2016, they hadn’t won it in 108 years.  I was going to Seminary just north of Chicago that fall, so it made it pretty easy for me to be part of that whole run.  My Grandpa, however, died in 1998.  He was only 63, so he went his whole life without seeing the Cubs win the big one.

In the early nineties, my aunt and uncle moved to Kansas City, so at that point I also became a Royals and a Chiefs fan.  I figured it would be okay to have an American League Baseball team too, so I usually make it to a Royals game every season.  They were never very good, but then, out of nowhere they made the World Series in 2014 and won it in 2015.  They hadn’t won it in 30 years.

As you can see, my teams have had a few good years recently, we won’t talk about my college teams, it really could be a lifetime before we see a Championship there, but my pro baseball teams are good, and now even my Chiefs have a good team, and are back in the Super Bowl for the first time in fifty years, and I like their chances.  Finally, after waiting so long, I get to see my team play in the big game.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of Simeon, a righteous and devout man who had been waiting for a long time to see the Christ of the Lord.  

Simeon was promised that he would see the Messiah before he died, and he had been waiting his whole life for this moment.

On this day, Simeon took Jesus 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 the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

What is interesting to me is that this prayer of Simeon is something that myself and all priests pray every night.  It is a standard part of night prayer in our liturgy of the hours, the Church has made Simeon’s prayer it’s own.

Every day we as priests have held our savior in our hands, just like Simeon, we’ve consecrated the Eucharist and held Jesus in our hands, so this prayer is so fitting.  We have seen the salvation of the Lord, and we are ready to go to sleep, whether just for the night or for eternity like Simeon, we are ready, what else could we need?

Now there is so much anticipation for this football game, and I am part of that, but seriously, why don’t we have this much anticipation for Mass, for our Lord and Saviour becoming present to the point that we can momentarily hold Him in our hands?

It’s amazing if you think about it.  And I get it, some days I’m guilty of being more excited about the big game than I am about Mass, but we just can’t become complacent that this is truly Jesus present here, body, blood, soul and divinity.

Because, think about how many people, Jews who lived before Jesus came, who wanted to see the messiah and didn’t, like my Grandpa dying before he got to see the Cubs win the Series.

Think about the Angels who want to hold Jesus but they can’t, the Angels are jealous of us because they are not able to receive Jesus’ body and blood.  But Jesus didn’t come to help the Angels, he came to help people.

Think about all of the people living right now who want to see the savior but don’t know of His true presence here and might die without holding Him in their hands just because they are ignorant of this fact.

Like the gift of the Holy Spirit enlightening Simeon and Anna to the presence of the saviour, Jesus makes His presence known to us.  He loves us so much that he suffered and died for our sake, to destroy the power of death, and expiate our sins, because He wants to be with him in heaven.  

 “Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” Jesus gives us His body and blood to nourish and strengthen us, to help us on our journey. 

Please don’t take these simple truths for granted, just because they happen daily or weekly doesn’t make them less important than if they happened once a year or once every fifty years or once in a lifetime.

And if we recognize Jesus daily in our lives, we will be able to echo the prayer of Simeon: “Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.”

 

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