February 2, The Presentation of the Lord

The Candlemas

When the days were completed for their purification  according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord ….  Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout …. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus  ….he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”  …. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted  (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna …. she was eighty-four. She never left the temple …And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God. Lk 2,22-38

The law of Moses prescribed that, forty days after the birth of their eldest son, the parents had to go to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and for the purification of the mother. In the today’s gospel, however, it is not the child who is offered to the Lord, but it is the Lord himself who is offered by Mary and Joseph for the salvation of the humanity and the world. This is the mystery which is caught by the aged Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, surrender to the joy and to the praise, which melt in the wonderful song of Dimittis: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace”. We, too, this morning, went to the church to attend the holy mass and to present, as we do every day, our sons to the Lord. We were given a candle, because it is the Candlemas day, so called because today the Church blesses the candles to celebrate the event of the presentation of Jesus to the temple. That candle which has been given this morning by the priest is as the confirmation of the candle which has been lighted on at our baptism. It is a sign of the faith and of the the gospel which we have to bring into the world. Give us, Lord, the grace to keep it always on.

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