The Presentation of the Lord is an account of Mary and Joseph taking the child Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer Him to God.
Mary and Joseph are fulfilling the Jewish law of Moses to dedicate their firstborn son to God and make a sacrificial offering.
While at Temple, two people encounter the Holy Family: Simeon and Anna. Both of them are advanced in years and each one offers a prophecy regarding the future of Jesus.
After their visit to the Temple, the family returns home to Nazareth where Jesus grows in strength, wisdom, and God’s grace and favor.
The Gospel Account
You can find the story of the Presentation of the Lord in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 22-40.
Click on this link to view the Gospel passage using the New American Bible translation.
The Five Decades
When you pray the five decades of this Rosary Reflection, use these five moments from the Gospel. Read the Gospel verses for each decade and let the words sink in as you pray that decade.
First Decade: Mary and Joseph visit the Temple (Luke 2:22-24)
“When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.“
Second Decade: Simeon encounters the Holy Family (Luke 2:25-32)
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, light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
Third Decade: Simeon blesses Mary and Joseph (Luke 2:33-35)
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.”
Fourth Decade: Anna encounters Jesus (Luke 2:36-38)
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the Temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
Fifth Decade: The Return to Nazareth (Luke 2:39-40)
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
What to Remember
This Gospel story shows that the parents of Jesus are faithful to God’s law given through Moses, and offer their child to God’s care, protection, and service.
As a follower of Jesus, you have the same privilege: to witness the saving power of God in your life. You are led by the Holy Spirit to see – and be – the glory of God in the world.
When you listen to the words of this Gospel passage and take those words to heart, you grow towards a deeper realization that God’s light and saving power is present to you all the moments of your life.
Here are a few intentions to pray for:
- For a greater openness to God’s presence in your life.
- For deeper inspiration to present your daily thoughts, words, and actions to glorify God.
- For family and friends to bless others through their lives.
- For all men and women religious who have professed vows to serve God; for those in study and formation, and for more vocations that others may accept God’s invitation to this way of consecrated life.
Feel free to pray the rosary using this Gospel when you want more connection with God’s Spirit leading you to a deeper encounter with Jesus, the Light of the World.
When This Gospel Appears
Luke’s Gospel account of the Presentation of the Lord occurs on February 2nd of every year.
The Catholic Church celebrates the Presentation of the Lord as a Feast Day, which is also known as Candlemass and is a day celebrating and praying for those who are members of men’s (priests and brothers) and women’s (sisters) religious orders.
* Scripture passages are from the United Conference of Catholic Bishops website, https://usccb.org/bible