Praying the Gospel through the Rosary: The Presentation

Submitted by Deacon Jim Krupka

Living true to Jewish Law, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to present their firstborn Son to God. The
fourth Joyful Mystery calls us to ponder the meaning of this ritual presentation. Luke is the only Gospel
writer to mention the Presentation. For Luke, the Presentation was important. In the first sentence of
Luke’s Gospel, he tells us what he is doing. He says that he decided to “write an orderly account” (Lk 1:3)
of the “events that have been fulfilled among us.” (Lk 1:1). Key here is the word “fulfilled.” Connection
to Jewish faith history was important to him.
Luke’s description of the trip to the Temple (Lk 2:22-38) is filled with meaning. First, we see that Jesus
was born to a family devoutly Jewish. As they presented Jesus at the Temple, they were living Jewish law
that required all firstborn males to be designated as holy to the Lord. There is nothing unusual so far.
Any good Jewish parents would do the same. But Luke gives us more. When the Holy Family arrived at
the Temple, a man named Simeon met them. Simeon was a devout man. God promised him that he
would not die until he had seen the Savior. Simeon reached out to Jesus and spoke prophetic words
about the infant. He also warned Mary that she would experience sorrow. A sword would pierce her
As we meditate on the Presentation, we can begin to imagine the life of Jesus. From this day at the
Temple, we only have one other detail about Jesus’ next thirty years in the Gospels. We can conclude
that those years were a genuine experience of humanity. Neither the Gospel writers nor secular
historians have anything to say about Jesus’ life as a boy or young man beyond his Temple appearance
at age twelve. Worth reflection is some attempt to comprehend that Jesus, the Son of God, took on our
humanity and entered our condition. The “ordinariness” of his first thirty years makes it understandable
that Jesus identifies entirely with us. Also, think about what it means to be devout. Despite all the
wonder of the Annunciation and Visitation, Mary and Joseph were “amazed” by Simeon’s witness. We
do not hear Mary’s reaction nor Joseph’s. This mix of joy and worry in the realm of the unknown future
is something very human that we all share.