Monday, February 2, 2009

Daily Office Reflection: The Presentation

MP: Psalms 42, 43; Samuel 2:1-10; John 8:11-16
EP: Psalms 48, 87; Haggai 2:1-9; 1John 3:1-8

In the Psalms for MP we have verses that are some of my favorites in all the Psalter:

  As a deer longs for the water-brooks
     so longs my soul for you, O God.

  My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God;
     when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

   Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?
     and why are you so disquieted within me?

   Put your trust in God;
     for I will yet give God thanks,
     who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

I think about these particular verses quite often during the day and find myself repeating them at odd times. I take great solace as well as strength from hearing these verses and thinking about them.

Although I am glad to have these Psalms in today's Daily Office selection, in our readings today we are not given the portion of Luke (2:22-40) which details the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple. That reading is in the Lesser Feasts and Fasts Eucharistic lectionary. We do have a portion of this account of Mary and Joseph doing their duty in presenting and offering their infant child to God in MP: in Canticle 17, the Nunc dimittis. I often imagine, when saying or singing Canticle 17, the joy and tear-filled eyes of Simeon as he held Jesus and beheld and understood who and what was in his hands. These words in this Canticle present a solid rock onto which we can plant our feet and begin to realize the enormity of God's gift to us and how our thirst can be quenched.

Lord, you now have set your servant free
   to go in peace as you have promised.
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior,
   whom you have prepared for all the world to see.
A Light to enlighten the nations,
   and the glory of your people Israel.

For our thirst for God, our thirst to understand this mystery of God in human form, is slackened some by Simeon's joy. Simeon's thirst was quenched when he held that baby in his hands. Although it is unlikely that we will be granted that privilege in our lifetime, we can and do experience that closeness of God, a quenching of that thirst for God, each and every time we share our common Eucharistic table together. Next time we gather at our common table, knowing that people around the world are sharing the same meal, we should think about Simeon and consider how our thirst for God is slackened some by sharing that holy meal.

Copyright 2009, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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