According to the Church’s liturgical calendar, the feast held on Feb. 2 each year is in honor of the Presentation of the Lord. Some Catholics recall this day as the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary because such was the feast day named until the 1969 changes in the Church’s calendar.
The Gospel of Luke explains that the old prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna were at the Temple that day. They, like many others, had spent their lifetime waiting, longing for a Messiah, and the Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Savior. Among all the children and mothers coming into the Temple, Simeon recognized Jesus as the Christ Child; he held Jesus and exclaimed this hymn of thanksgiving, “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel” (Lk. 2, 29 – 32). The hymn has traditionally been termed the Nunc Dimittis, from the Latin, “Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace.”
Like Mary, Jesus the Divine Son of God did not have to undergo these rituals, but His parents willingly complied in order to pay tribute to Jewish laws, to avoid any possible scandal and in so doing demonstrated profound humility. They acquiesced to the law like all poor Jewish families.
Let us ask God to make us humble like Our Blessed Lord and the Blessed Virgin. It is in this humility that we show fidelity to the love that God has for us.