According to the law of Moses, mothers of firstborn boys remained in a process of purification for forty days after giving birth. If a daughter, the time period was 80 days.
When Mary’s 40 day period had passed, Mary and Joseph, in devout obedience to Jewish law, took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord – represented by the Temple priest.
Jewish custom also required that on the day of presentation, parents would make a sacrifice. Either, a lamb as a burnt offering and a dove or a young pigeon as a sin offering. If the family were poor and unable to afford a lamb, as in Mary and Joseph’s instance, then two doves or young pigeons were given.
Upon their arrival at the temple, Mary would have been met by the priest and sprinkled with the blood of her sacrifices (Lightfoot). She would then have presented the child Jesus to him.
The event was a very special milestone in the Holy Families life and was made even more memorable when they met Simeon and Anna. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and proudly exclaimed, “Sovereign Lord, permit your servant to depart in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation” while Anna “gave thanks to God and… spoke about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem”. (Luke 2:29-30, 38)
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is the 2nd February.
Presentation of the Lord:
Give us a heart as beautiful, pure and spotless as yours.
A heart like yours, so full of love and humility.
May we be able to receive Jesus as the Bread of Life,
to love Him as you loved Him, to serve Him under the mistreated face of the poor. (Extract from prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Glory be to the…