FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD
XXIII WORLD DAY OF CONSECRATED LIFE
HOLY MASS FOR THE CONSECRATES
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Saturday, 2 February 2019
The Liturgy today shows Jesus going to meet his people. It is the feast of the meeting: the novelty of the Child meets the tradition of the temple; the promise finds fulfillment; Mary and Joseph, young people, meet Simeon and Anna, elderly. Everything, in short, meets when Jesus arrives.
What does this say to us? First of all, we too are called to welcome Jesus who comes to meet us. Meet him: the God of life must be met every day of life; not every so often, but every day. Following Jesus is not a decision taken once and for all, it is a daily choice. And the Lord does not meet virtually, but directly, meeting him in life, in the concreteness of life. Otherwise Jesus becomes only a beautiful memory of the past. But when we welcome him as the Lord of life, the center of everything, the beating heart of everything, then He lives and lives in us. And it happens to us what happened in the temple: around him everything is met, life becomes harmonious. With Jesus we find the courage to go forward and the strength to remain steadfast. The meeting with the Lord is the source. It is therefore important to go back to the sources: go back to the decisive encounters with Him, revive the first love, perhaps write our love story with the Lord. It will do well for our consecrated life, so that it does not become time that passes, but it is time to meet.
If we remember our founding encounter with the Lord, we realize that it did not arise as a private matter between us and God. No, it blossomed in the believing people, alongside so many brothers and sisters, in precise times and places. The Gospel tells us this, showing how the encounter takes place in the people of God, in its concrete history, in its living traditions: in the temple, according to the Law, in the climate of prophecy, with the young and the old together (cf. , 25-28.34). Thus also the consecrated life: blossoms and blooms in the Church; if it is isolated, it fades. It matures when the young and the elderly walk together, when the young find the roots and the elderly welcome the fruits. Instead, it stagnates when you are walking alone, when you remain attached to the past or you rush forward to try to survive. Today, the feast of the meeting, we ask for the grace to rediscover the Lord alive, in the believing people, and to make the charism meet with the grace of today.
The Gospel also tells us that the meeting of God with his people has a beginning and a goal. We start from the call to the temple and we arrive at the vision in the temple. The call is twofold. There is a first call "according to the Law" (v.22). It is that of Joseph and Mary, who go to the temple to accomplish what the law prescribes. The text underlines it almost as a refrain, four times (see verses 184.108.40.206). It is not a constraint: the parents of Jesus do not necessarily or to satisfy a mere external fulfillment; they go to answer the call of God. Then there is a second call, according to the Spirit. It is that of Simeon and Anna. This too is highlighted with insistence: three times, speaking of Simeon, we speak of the Holy Spirit (see verses 25.26.27) and ends with the prophetess Anna who, inspired, praises God (see verse 38). Two young men rush to the temple called by the Law; two elders moved by the Spirit. This dual call, of the Law and the Spirit, what does it say to our spiritual life and to our consecrated life? That we are all called to a double obedience: to the law - in the sense of what gives good order to life - and to the Spirit, who does new things in life. This is how the encounter with the Lord is born: the Spirit reveals the Lord, but in order to receive him, the constant constancy of every day is necessary. Even the greatest charisms, without an ordered life, do not bear fruit. On the other hand, the best rules are not enough without the newness of the Spirit: law and Spirit go together.
Booklet from Mass Available here: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/libretti/2019/20190202-libretto-presentazione-signore.pdf