January 31st 2021
(Click on the Bible references if you would like to study the readings in more depth)
Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood,
Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature.
He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil,
who has the power over death
and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives
because of their fear of death.
The time came for Joseph and Mary to perform the ceremony of purification,
as the Law of Moses commanded.
So they took the child to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,
as it is written in the law of the Lord:
"Every first-born male is to be dedicated to the Lord."
They also went to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons,
as required by the law of the Lord.
At that time there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem.
He was a good, God-fearing man and was waiting for Israel to be saved.
The Holy Spirit was with him and had assured him
that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's promised Messiah.
Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple.
When the parents brought the child Jesus into the Temple to do for him what the Law required,
Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God:
"Now, Lord, you have kept your promise and you may let your servant go in peace.
With my own eyes I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples:
A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel."
The child's father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him.
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother,
"This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel.
He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against
and so reveal their secret thoughts.
And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart."
There was a very old prophet, a widow named Anna,
daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher.
She had been married for only seven years and was now eighty-four years old.
She never left the Temple; day and night she worshiped God, fasting and praying.
That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all
who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free.
When Joseph and Mary had finished doing all that was required by the Law of the Lord,
they returned to their hometown of Nazareth in Galilee.
The child grew and became strong; he was full of wisdom
and God's blessings were upon him.