Malankara World Journal Ma'altho Special available online
- The Malankara World Journal Ma'altho Special Supplement (No. 51, February 1, 2012) is now available online at:
This is a special edition of Malankara World Journal to commemorate the feast of Ma'altho (Presentation of Jesus at the Temple). Thge church celebrates Ma'altho on February 2.
When we thought that the Christmas was all over and Jesus was well into his public ministry, here comes another feast related to the early childhood of Jesus Christ. February 2 is celebrated as Ma'altho (Mayaltho - Presentation of Jesus at the Temple). Jewish custom required that all the firstborn sons be brought into the temple on the 40th day. This is also the time for purification.
This feast is very important for the church and so it is celebrated on the actual date (February 2 - 40 days after December 25) similar to Annunciation, for example, that is always celebrated on March 25. We have provided comprehensive coverage for this feast in our Sermons/Commentaries section in Malankara World where you can read different perspectives on the importance of this festival. Let me summarize the key points here:
1. Jesus was brought up as an young Jew following all the rules, commandments and Mosaic Laws. He was circumcised when he was 8 days old according to the Abrahamic Covenant. He was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Jesus was taken to the temple when he was 40 days old for the prescribed purification (Ex. 13:2, 12). They offered a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."
Thus, Jesus showed his full humanity when he was a child following all the things a human child will undergo, as prescribed in the law.
2. Jesus was raised by two average, ordinary people, Joseph and Mary. They were very poor. He was an ordinary child when he was young. This, of course, follows the theme of bible, 'God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.'
3. During the purification ceremony, we see the first public testament to the divinity of Jesus (after the angelic and wise men's testimony when Jesus was born). Two elderly saints, Simeon and Anna, testified the baby as the long-awaited Messiah. Torah required that multiple witnesses are required to provide legitimacy to a testament:
"A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. " Deut. 19:15
Luke points out that, indeed, two witnesses testified to the Messianic status of Jesus. These witnesses were godly, faithful people. They were part of remnant Israel, those waiting for God's Messiah. No one could challenge the dedication and spirituality of Simeon and Anna.
4. Today's Gospel reading also brings to light an important quality God expects us to have. That is the virtue of patience. Simeon and Anna waited many years to see the face of the savior. Their wait paid off. Good things await those who wait patiently. When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple, they were just two ordinary people bringing an ordinary child, from all external appearances. There were virtually hundreds of people at the Temple mount offering sacrifices and worshipping at that time. None of them saw anything special about Jesus. But Simeon and Anna recognized Jesus immediately. It was the work of the Holy Spirit, a reward for their unquestionable faith and patience.
We go to church every Sunday. We participate in Qurbana (some people watch and some people take part.). Do we see just bread and wine or do we see the Body and Blood of our savior in the Holy Mysteries? For those who patiently prays and waits like Simeon and Anna, good things happen.
We soon will embark on the Big Lent and participate in the Crucifixion, Death, Burial and Resurrection of our savior. Reflect on the meanings of sacraments and liturgy. May be we can also sing with Simeon, "Nunc Dimittus:"
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word."
Table of Contents: Malankara World Journal Issue 51
1. Editor's Note
2. Bible Readings for Ma'altho
3. Sermons for Ma'altho
24 sermons, bible commentaries, homilies and Gospel analyses in Malankara World based on today's Gospel reading.
4. Inspiration for Today-Simeon's Song
The church historically knows this psalm as the Nunc Dimittus, the Latin translations of the first two words, 'Now dismiss....'
5. Featured: Simeon and Anna - Gospel Analysis by Edward F. Markquart
Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealedand a sword will pierce your own soul too." Simeon had a specific word or prophecy for the mother, Mary. Simeon wanted Mary to know that her baby Jesus would grow up to be a sign that will be opposed by many in Israel.
6. The Lord Has Come! The Song of Simeon by Marvin A. McMickle
What kind of faith does it take to see through the exterior appearance of a person, and to see beyond the social class into which they were born, and to recognize within them that spark placed there by nothing less than the hand of God himself? How many other people must have been in the Temple that day, and yet when Simeon spoke there is no record that the others who were there, the priests, the Pharisees, the other worshipers stopped what they were doing and came to worship the child that Simeon had just declared to be the long-awaited Messiah.
7. Why did Jesus Christ come?
Jesus came to help people with a past put that past behind them. Salvation is rescue from the past. You can't do this on your own. You need a Savior. What is for certain about the past? Jesus rescues you from your bondage to past sin.
8. Seeking the Savior by Max Lucado
One Incredible Savior: Dont be satisfied with angels. Dont be content with stars in the sky. Seek him out as the shepherds did. Long for him as Simeon did. Worship him as the wise men did .Risk whatever it takes to see Christ.
9. About Malankara World
Please read this special supplement online at:
In HIS Service
Dr. Jacob Mathew
Malankara World Journal
ID No: 956