Lives of Saints - The presentation (meeting) of Our Lord in the Temple Christianity - Books
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;'                but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.                If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                'It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,'                but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.                'Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,'                but I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God;                nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.                Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black.                But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.                'You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'*                But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.                If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.                Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.                Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.                'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor,* and hate your enemy.*'                But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,                that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.               
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The presentation (meeting) of Our Lord in the Temple

On the 15th of February, our Holy Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of Christ to the Temple. The Church also refers to this Feast as the Synaxis (or meeting) of our Lord in the temple.

In accordance with the Mosaic law, 40 days after the birth of a male child the mother is required to present the child in the tabernacle and offer as a sacrifice either a lamb or a pair of doves or pigeons for her purification. The presentation of a first-born son also signified redemption or buying back, for all first-born creatures (both humans and animals) were considered to belong to God.

Mary and Joseph obeyed this precept of the law. They brought Jesus to the Temple where he was met and blessed by a very old Holy man. On that day in the Temple, both Simeon and a woman by the name of Anna, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, recognised the infant Jesus as the Messiah and Saviour of the world. Simeon had been promised by God that he would live to witness the coming of the Messiah to the world. These events are the subject of todays Gospel reading. (Luke 2:22-40)

Imagine this blessed scene, of an old man - barely able to hold himself upright due to his advanced years- fully attired in the Traditional clothing of the High Priest of the Temple, cradling the infant Jesus in his arms. It is the meeting of the Old Testament Priesthood in the Temple with the New Testament Priesthood in Christ. And hence the naming of this Feast day as the "Synaxis" or Meeting of our Lord in the Temple.

The Church today calls each one of us to make our Soul a Temple of God, where the Holy Virgin can bring her Divine Child. And each one of us should, like Simeon, take the Child in our arms and say to the Father:

"My eyes have seen your salvation, now let your servant depart in peace".
This Prayer of Simeon is used every day in the Vespers services of the Orthodox Church. But this prayer should be more to us than a description of someone who has been allowed to see and hold the Christ child requesting a peaceful departure. It should also mean for us, in particular, that having seen and touched the Saviour, we are released from the hold that sin has on us, and in peace, we can leave the realm of evil.


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