Presentation of the Lord Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. The Sunday Connection provides useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.


The Presentation of the Lord

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Today’s Readings


First Reading
Malachi 3:1–4
The Lord you seek will come to the temple.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 24:7,8,9,10
The Lord is the king of glory.

Second Reading
Hebrews 2:14–18
Jesus became like us in order to save us.

Gospel Reading
Luke 2:22–40 (Shorter Form: Luke 2:22–32)
Simeon recognizes the infant Jesus as the promised Messiah.

Background on the Gospel
Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple. The Presentation, which is celebrated 40 days after Christmas, is not mentioned in the other Gospels. Only Luke tells the story, most likely because he writes for Gentile Christians who are not familiar with the Jewish rite of presentation and purification. In addition, the intent of Luke’s Gospel is to show that God’s promise to Israel, fulfilled in Jesus, extends to Gentiles.

Luke recognizes Joseph and Mary as faithful Jews who bring Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem. Here they present their firstborn son to the Lord. Jesus is thus consecrated as required by the Law of Moses. Present in the temple at this time are Simeon and Anna. Both are awaiting the restoration of God’s rule in Israel.

Simeon had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would see Christ the Lord, the Messiah, before he died. The holy man immediately recognized the infant Jesus as the promised Savior, a “light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Anna also recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise of redemption and spoke about him to all.


Gospel Reading
Luke 2:22–40 (Shorter Form: Luke 2:22–32)
Simeon recognizes the infant Jesus as the promised Messiah.


Making the Connection (Grades 1, 2, and 3)
Younger children know the excitement of recognizing that something good is about to happen. When Simeon sees the infant Jesus in the Temple, he recognizes something wonderful—that God’s promise of a Savior has been fulfilled.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for the Scripture Readings

  1. Invite children to think of times when they knew something wonderful was about to happen. Ask: What was about to happen? How did you feel as you waited? (Accept reasonable responses.) Say: In today’s Gospel, we’ll hear about someone who recognized something wonderful. He saw that God had kept his promise to send a Savior. Listen carefully as I read.
  2. Read aloud the shorter form of today’s Gospel, Luke 2:22–32.
  3. Say: The Holy Spirit promised Simeon that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. Ask: Whom did Simeon see at the Temple? (the infant Jesus) Say: Simeon recognized something wonderful—that God had kept his promise to send a Savior. He saw that Jesus is our Lord and Savior and that after Jesus’ birth, the world would never be the same. Ask: How do you think Simeon felt when he recognized that Jesus had come to save us from sin and offer us life forever with God in heaven? (Accept reasonable responses.)
  4. Conclude by thanking God the Father for sending us his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Then pray the Act of Faith.


Gospel Reading
Luke 2:22–40 (Shorter Form: Luke 2:22–32) Simeon recognizes the infant Jesus as the promised Messiah.


Making the Connection (Grades 4, 5, and 6)
At this age, children are familiar with their parents or other adults introducing them to people they have not met before. Explain that Jesus, too, was “introduced” by Mary and Joseph to God.

Materials Needed

  • Bible
  • Collection basket of “play” money

Preparation for the Scripture Readings

  1. Say: This Gospel is probably not familiar to most of us. It is read on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which is celebrated yearly on February 2.
  2. Ask: What do you understand by the word presentation? (Accept all reasonable responses.) A presentation can be the introduction of a new product or a new idea or a new person. Let’s listen to this Sunday’s Gospel. Think about which definition applies.
  3. Read aloud Luke 2:22–32, omitting verse 23 if desired.
  4. Continue: In today’s reading, who or what is being presented? (Jesus) Who is presenting him? (Mary and Joseph) What was the name of the man in the temple? (Simeon) Whom did he recognize Jesus as? (the promised Savior) What was Simeon’s reaction? (He broke into prayer.) What had God had promised Simeon because of his great faith? (He wouldn’t die before seeing the Savior.)
  5. Say: I didn’t expect you to remember all the answers after hearing the Gospel only one time. The important thing to remember is that God kept his promise by sending his Son to be our Savior.
  6. Ask the children why there is a collection basket with “money” up front. Remind the children that in the Gospel story, “[Mary and Joseph took Jesus] to present him to the Lord . . . and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. . . .”
  7. Explain: Everything that we have comes from God. From the beginning of time, people have offered sacrifice to pay homage to God and to thank him for his great gifts. Mary and Joseph offered turtledoves or pigeons. At Mass we offer gifts of money to support the spread of God’s Word and to care for people in need. As I pass this collection basket, take one “dollar bill” and write on it one thing you will do to show your love for God. Then put it in your pocket or in a drawer at home as a reminder until you do your good deed.
  8. Say: Now spend some quiet time with Jesus—your Lord, your friend, and your Savior. After a few moments, pray the Sign of the Cross together.


Gospel Reading
Luke 2:22–40 (Shorter Form: Luke 2:22–32) Simeon recognizes the infant Jesus as the promised Messiah.


Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)
At this age, young people are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities. Remind them that the Gospel, too, is a call to action. We read and study the Scripture to become better acquainted with the ways we can serve God.

Materials Needed

  • Copies of Luke 2:25–40 (one per student)
  • Canned goods and other nonperishable food items
  • play money

Preparation for the cripture Reading

  1. Explain that this feast day’s Gospel is a reading for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, which is celebrated on February 2.
  2. Pass out copies of the Scripture reading and ask a volunteer to read aloud verses 25–28 and 33–34a; another to read Simeon’s words: verses 29–32 and 34b–35; and one to read about Anna: verses 36–40. Encourage the readers to speak distinctly and reverently; ask the other young people to follow along silently.
  3. When finished, ask the young people: How did Luke describe Simeon? (devout, anxious for the redemption of Israel) What promise did the Holy Spirit make to Simeon? (that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah of the Lord) How was Simeon able to recognize the baby Jesus as the Savior? (through the power of the Holy Spirit) Anna also recognized the infant Jesus as the Savior. What enabled her to do so? (She worshiped night and day, fasted, and prayed.)
  4. Say: Both Simeon and Anna were holy persons whose lives were focused on the coming of the Savior. Even though Jesus was only a newborn, they recognized him because they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
  5. Point out the canned goods and other items in the front of the room and ask why they are there. (Accept all reasonable answers.) Then say: We are also called to recognize Jesus. We will find him in others. Sometimes they simply need a kind word or acknowledgment; often they may need food or clothing.
  6. Pray aloud: Let us pray that, like Simeon and Anna, we too will be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can recognize the goodness and holiness in all the people we meet and have the courage to help where needed. Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with compassion and kindle in us the fire of your love. Amen.


Gospel Reading
Luke 2:22–40 (Shorter Form: Luke 2:22–32) Simeon recognizes the infant Jesus as the promised Messiah.


Family Connection
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Discuss with the family the persons of Simeon and Anna as they meet Jesus. (Luke 2: 25–40)
 

Because Simeon and Anna lived lives of prayer and fasting in the Temple, they were filled with the Spirit of God. That is why they were able to identify Jesus as the Savior even though Jesus was only a baby. To these two holy people, he was recognizable as the Redeemer who had been promised. Simeon described Jesus as “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

We too are called to recognize Jesus as Lord. Together as a family discuss ways to recognize Jesus as Lord by praying and attending Mass, fasting, and serving others. As a family, decide on one specific sacrifice you can make in order to alleviate the suffering or need of someone you know.