“Gathered by the Holy Spirit let us proceed to the House of God to encounter Christ. There we shall find him in the breaking of bread.” These words are from the introduction to the blessing of candles on this feast of the Presentation which we celebrate today.
It was Simeon led by the Spirit, who came to the Temple and meeting Mary and Joseph took the child in his arms. The words he said we recite every evening at night prayer. It is known as the “Nunc dimittis” and is the third canticle given to us by Luke in his Gospel. Simeon recognised this child was the salvation for all people not just the people of Israel. “My eyes have seen your salvation which you have made ready in the presence of all nations, a light for revelation to the gentiles and for the glory of your people Israel.”
Anna found Jesus in the temple began to speak about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem. Both Simeon and Anna recognised Jesus. The question for us is: Where do we find Jesus? Do we recognise him in our daily life?
We encounter Jesus as we enter the Church and celebrate Mass. People have often said to me I don’t need to go to Church to pray. It is true we can pray anywhere but by taking part in the Eucharist we truly encounter Christ. In the often quoted passage from the Vatican Council Document on the Liturgy we read “Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, … but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (paragraph 7).
Therefore we recognise Jesus at the celebration of Mass but do we recognise him in others: In the poor and destitute, in the refugee and immigrant, in the prisoner and the person sleeping rough? For Anna she not only recognised Jesus but spoke of him. She told others of him. Let the Spirit lead you to recognise Jesus in your prayer and liturgical worship & do not be afraid to speak of him to others.