This year the Presentation replaces the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The Book of Malachi is seen by Christians as announcing the prophet who will announce the Messiah – announcing John the Baptist who will proclaim Jesus to be the Christ. For this reason in Christian Bibles, the Book of Malachi is printed as the last book of the Old Testament. In the Jewish Bible the final book is II Chronicles, which ends with the restoration of Israel to the promised land after exile in Babylon, and Malachi appears pretty much in the middle along with the other ‘minor’ prophets.
The lection for this Sunday prepares us to hear of the sacrifices offered by Mary and Jospeh, and – of course – for the recognition of Jesus as the prmised one by Simeon and Anna.
First reading: Malachi 3:1-4
(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)
1.1 The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.
The Lord’s Love for Israel
2 “I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the LORD of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.’” 5 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the LORD beyond the border of Israel!”
3.1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.
Translation of Psalms: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010.
Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
Photo (c) 2019, Allen Morris. St Mary’s Church, Newport, Wales.