This coming Sunday, February 2, is The Feast of the Presentation, when the Church remembers when the newborn Jesus was brought to the temple by his faithful parents to be presented to the Lord, to offer sacrifice and thanksgiving for his birth. The Feast of the Presentation is one of only three set feasts which normally supersede the appointed readings for a Sunday, the other two being the Feast of the Holy Name (January 1) and the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6). It is, therefore, an important celebration within the pattern of the Church calendar, and one we are glad to mark this year.
The other name for this feast is Candlemas, because this is the day when traditionally the priest blesses all of the candles to be used in worship for the year. This is because it is during Jesus’ presentation in the temple that he meets Simeon, the old man who has been waiting in the temple for years to catch a glimpse of his Messiah. Remember Simeon’s words when he sees the child Jesus:
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
according to thy word;
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
which thou hast prepared before the face of all people,
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Christ is the light to lighten the Gentiles, to bring hope and salvation to all of God’s people, even those once considered outside God’s favor.
All of which makes me wonder:
Where are you seeing Christ’s light these days? The world in which we live seems full of anxiety and despair, but this feast reminds us that there is light shining in that darkness. Where do you see it?
And how are you bearing that light into the world? What is it that you do that helps people to see hope, that helps to bring about peace and justice? How do you shine with the Good News in your life?
I hope that you’ll take a moment to reflect on these questions this week as we prepare for this marvelous feast. I hope, too, that when you have an answer, you’ll share it with someone and continue to bear the light of the Gospel in word and in deed.