The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. Forty days after the birth of Jesus, His virginal Mother went to the Temple to fulfill the rite of purification, for which she had no need, but to which, in her humility, she submitted because it was one of the requirements of the Jews. This was the first day Jesus ever entered a church. He was carried there by His Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph, and presented to His Eternal Father in the Temple. Most of the Jews, men and women, in the Temple in those days were wicked and faithless people. There was one old man named Simeon whose faith and belief in the coming of the Messias was still true. He took the Child Jesus in his arms and uttered the beautiful canticle: “Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace, because my eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou has prepared before the face of all peoples; a light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people, Israel.”
This prayer of Simeon is one of three canticles in the New Testament. The other two are: the Magnificat of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the Benedictus of Zachary, the father of John the Baptist.
There was also in the Temple when Mary went there with Joseph to present Jesus to His Eternal Father as God made man, a saintly old woman, a widow, named Anna, a prophetess, who was eighty-four years old. She went around the Temple and told all the Jewish women there what had happened, and Who had come to the Temple at last.