Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord which fortunately this year falls on a Sunday. Forty days after the birth of Jesus his parents present him to the Lord going up to Jerusalem to do so. For many years this feast was called the Purification of Mary or sometimes Candlemas but these days we refer to it as the Presentation of the Lord. The account of these events comes in chapter two of Luke’s Gospel where the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus are combined.
In our Gospel reading today we hear about the call of the very first disciples right at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry—first Simon Peter and Andrew then James and John.
You might think that these very first disciples were a bit simple. While they are busy working at their everyday tasks as fishermen Jesus comes up and asks them to follow him. They immediately drop their nets and do just that, they follow him.
We begin the Sundays in Ordinary Time with this account from the Gospel of John of the occasion when John the Baptist points out Jesus and identifies him as the Lamb of God. The first thing we should realise is that according to the Law of Moses a lamb was sacrificed each morning and evening in the Temple in expiation for the sins of the people.
John the Baptist was a very fierce man. This might be what you would expect of someone who lived most of his life in the desert. He knew all about hardship and he had the marks of penance on his body. Much of his message was taken up in condemnation, condemnation of those living a life of luxury and giving no thought to the life of the Spirit. But if John was so fierce why did so many people come to him, people from all over Palestine? If I preached fierce condemnatory sermons each week you would soon get fed up, so why did the people flock to hear John.
Father Alex McAllister SDS
Parish Priest of
St Thomas à Becket