Sunday Readings Commentary

by Denice May

Presentation of the Lord – OT – A - First Reading - Malachi 3:1–4 - There


Presentation of the Lord – OT – A - Psalm 24:7–10 – Who is the King of


Presentation of the Lord – OT – A - Second Reading - Hebrews 2:14–18 – He


Presentation of the Lord – OT – A - Gospel - Luke 2:22–40 – A light of


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Lector's Notes

by Gregory Warnusz

First Reading

When God’s people and their leaders were not living virtuously, the prophet Malachi criticized them for careless religious rituals, for cheating and for marriage to pagans. He predicts that the Lord will, like a craftsman melting gold and silver, “refine” the Levite priests of the temple.

LECTORS: Malachi was passionate, and his imagery is vivid: How will the Lord come to the temple? Suddenly. How will we work? Like the refiner’s fire or the fuller’s lye. (A fuller was a craftsman who cleansed and thickened cloth.) So bring out the vigor in these expressions. Also emphasize “to the temple” so that your listeners know the locus of the action.

Second Reading

Jews who became Christians lost the comforts of their old religion, including its speculations about angels. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds these converts that Jesus replaces and vastly improves upon everything they have given up. Here the writer argues that Jesus is superior to angels and closer to us than angels could be.

LECTORS: There’s a lot packed into a few dozen words. Before such a smörgåsbord of ideas, and absent any compelling link to the first reading or gospel, I’d choose one notion and try to emphasize it. My choice? Jesus’ solidarity with us. “Jesus likewise shared in them [human blood and flesh],” “he had to become like his brothers and sisters”


The audience of Luke’s gospel were pagan converts. They were happy to become Christians but puzzled that they had inherited a religion that started among the famously exclusive Jews. So Luke shows them two representatives of the Jewish heritage proclaiming how that tradition was destined to be transformed by Jesus.

SOURCE: Lector’s Notes

Malachi 3:1-4

1st Reading Video Connections
Bishop Barron on Being a Priest Today
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Bishop Barron on being a priest today

Another part of a video series from Bishop Barron will be commenting on subjects from modern day culture.

Support Your Catholic Priest (Catholic Speaker Ken Yasinski)
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Support your Catholic priest

Being a Catholic priest in not a popular thing these days. The clerical sex abuse crisis rocking the Church in North American have given some the impression that the priesthood is thoroughly corrupt. The impression is that priest are abusing there power, that the Catholic priesthood if full of predators, sexual immortal priests who can’t be trusted. Of course it is true there has been some terrible crimes and sins committed by priests…

Sins of the priests

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

Like many of his colleagues, the prophet Malachi has the difficult task of speaking an unwelcome message to the leaders and people of his time. In this post-exilic community, the liturgical and communal life of the people has deteriorated to such an extent that the prophet has to call to task the laxity of the clergy.

In today’s reading, the prophet speaks about a “messenger” who will come to prepare a way for the Lord, who will in turn cleanse his Temple of sinful practices so that worthy worship can once again be offered. Christians, in retrospect, saw the messenger as John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus and who in time would cleanse the Temple of beggars and sellers.

He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD. — MAL 3:3 (NAB)

PS 24: 7, 8, 9, 10

The Ark carried into the Temple, from Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (early 15th c.
Psalm Video Connections
Divine Praises - Matt Maher and Audrey Assad
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Divine Praises – Eucharistic Adoration

Matt Maher and Audrey Assad – World Youth Day 2016

What is the point of Eucharistic adoration?
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What is the point of Eucharistic adoration

Fr. John Bartunek and Dan Burke talk about adoration, what it is, and why it is important.

Bishop Barron comments on Eucharistic Adoration
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Bishop Barron comments on Eucharistic Adoration

Explore a collection of my resources on the Eucharist here:

Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

This is a psalm of praise to the King of Glory.


David composed this psalm after buying the Temple Mount, intending for it to be sung at the dedication of the Temple by his son, Solomon. In verses 7 and 9, he instructs the gates of the Temple to open to receive God’s glory at that time. The Talmud notes that when Solomon came to dedicate the Temple and bring in the Ark of the Covenant, the gates refused to open. They acceded only after Solomon prayed for them to open in the merit of his father, David.

SOURCE: Wikipedia

“One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, that I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD and contemplate his temple.” — Ps 40:8-9 (NAB)

Hebrews 2:14-18

2nd Reading Video Connections
Priesthood -  Jesus the eternal High Priest
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Priesthood – Jesus the eternal High Priest

From Melchizedek, of old, who offered the ‘fruit of the earth and work of human hands’ as sacrifice, to Christ whose perfect sacrifice is His own flesh and blood, we journey through time to learn more about the Eucharist we celebrate today.

Jesus as faithful high priest

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

As a result of the “Fall,” all human beings came under the power of Satan, especially when they sinned. They also lived in the shadow of “fear of death.” When Jesus came, he totally shared our human condition even to the point of death. But when God raised Jesus up, he broke the power of death and the hold that Satan had on humanity. Through his saving work, Jesus becomes a merciful and faithful high priest before God. Jesus’ faithfulness should be a model to all who may be tempted to despair in a time of persecution.

He had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people.— Heb 2:17 (NAB)

Luke 2:22-40

Painting from the Menologion of Basil II (c. 1000 AD), an illuminated manuscript designed as a church calendar or Eastern Orthodox Church service book
Gospel Video Connections
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Presentation in the Temple

Presentation of the Lord, Candlemas, and Groundhog Day
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Presentation of the Lord, Candlemas, and Groundhog Day

February 2nd is the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, 40 days after Christmas. Other traditions and observances have stemmed from this ancient observance.

The three religious rites related to the birth of Jesus

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

Because Mary and Joseph are devout Jews, they are obedient to the laws of their religious tradition. So this holy family makes the journey to the Temple to fulfill three different religious rites all related to the birth of Jesus: purification, redemption and presentation.


In biblical religions, contact with blood made a person unclean and ineligible to enter the Temple for worship. Bringing to the Temple a “sin offering”—a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons (the offering for a poor couple)—cleanses Mary and restores her to the worshiping community.


According to Ex 13:1-2, every male child belongs to God and must be “brought back” (redeemed); a male child is redeemed at the end of one month for five sanctuary shekels (Nm 18:16). Luke mentions no payment for Jesus for he already belongs to God. Luke downplays the redemption ritual by saying that the purpose of the visit to Jerusalem is to present Jesus to the Lord as it is written in the law of the Lord (2:22-23).


Technically, there is neither any biblical law nor any known custom pertaining to the presentation of a child in the Temple. Luke is using this language to allude to the story of Hannah presenting her child Samuel to Eli for service at the Sanctuary (1Sam 1:22-24). Luke’s purpose is to show that the Holy Family is obedient to the law of the Lord. This obedience to God in all things will characterize Jesus’ life and bring his mission to completion on the Cross.

This story also signals Jesus’ single-minded devotion to his Father and how that must transcend even his devotion to his earthly parents.Finally, the story features two very devout Jews who have waited all their lives for this moment. Simeon means “God has heard.” He speaks an ominous word to Mary about “a sword that will pierce her heart”-– an obvious reference to the sufferings Mary will endure because she is the mother of Jesus. A prophetess, Anna,whose name means “grace or favor,” is presented as the ideal Jewess. Being widowed, childless and old, she is totally dependent on God’s mercy and perfectly equipped to recognize it when it appears. She heralds the Child as the One who will redeem Jerusalem.

He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. — Mt 4:19-20 (NAB)

Reflection Questions

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

1. “Lo! I am sending you as a messenger to prepare the way before you.” How are you or how can you be a messenger of the Lord?

2. Who are the Anna’s and Simeon’s in your life and/or parish? What role do they play?

3. In the Gospel, Simeon says to Mary that because of her Child, her heart will be pierced with sorrow. What actions of children can pierce the heart of a parent? Do you have a personal experience you can share?

4. Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on.

Call to Action

Write a note of thanks to one of the Anna’s and Simeon’s in your life, thanking them for their ministry of care.


God of glory on this day of presentation, we present ourselves to you. Purify us to become more holy. We see in others what beauty a lifetime of grace can create. We want to be like that. Lead us in your everlasting way. Amen.

Faith Sharing Handouts

Ascension Catholic – PDF Index
Commentary Text: ©2019 Fr. Eamon Tobin, Commentaries & Faith Sharing PDF Handout. Songs, images, scripture verses, and other material at bottom of page curated by They do not necessarily reflect Fr. Tobin’s opinions or preferences. Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission.
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