Jesus Christ, the Light
(Feast of the Presentation of the Lord)
On many retreats that I have been on, the night is often the time when people come to a special awareness of GOD’s love. It may be because of the awareness of the contrast between darkness and light. Often we will use candlelight to help focus the retreatants’ awareness of the presence of Christ, the Light of the World. Sometimes we have individuals light their candles from another person’s candle. The idea of light casting out the darkness and the darkness not being able to overcome the light is seen as a sign of Christ overcoming the power of evil and sin.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus in the Temple (the 2nd Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary). He was presented to the temple by his parents Joseph and Mary. 40 days after Jesus was born, they went to the Temple to present him to God as their first born son. Mary and Joseph follow the traditional custom. They show that even though they are entrusted with the Author of life and the Savior of the world, they are not above the law. Their sacrifice of two birds show that they were not of the wealthy class who would offer a lamb for sacrifice. There in the temple was an old man named Simeon who took the child in his arms. Simeon, who had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not experience death until he had seen the Anointed of the Lord, praises GOD and says he is now ready for death since he has seen “a revealing light for the Gentiles and the glory of GOD’s people, Israel.” We began our Mass today with the blessing of candles. This reminds us of these words of Simeon to the parents of Jesus. These candles that have been blessed will be brought to our homes and communities to remind us in moments where we need the light of Christ. When we are facing a challenging problem in life, let us light the candle to remind us of the Lord’s presence and pray that we will be given His light and strength in the midst of the situation. For students, when you need guidance in your studies, light a candle blessed today. Pause and take some time to pray, “Lord, be my light so that I may learn well what I have been studying in class.” Let these candles blessed on this day remind us that we are not alone in life and that the Lord is with us, He is Emmanuel, even in our darkest moments. We can only appreciate the light when we are in the dark. Like our Lord Jesus who gave hope and light to Simeon, He too will give us hope to face these present challenges.
Today we also celebrate the Day of Consecrated Persons. Those who have dedicated their lives forever to Jesus and His Church are the light in today’s world. Let the witness of life of these consecrated men and women be a source of light and hope to people who are filled with fear, uncertainty, and anxiety because of this present crisis. Let us offer this Eucharist for all those, including us, who have offered ourselves for a greater fidelity and joyful witness of life. Brothers and sisters, as we celebrate this Holy Mass, let us as well offer to the Lord our joys and sorrows, our victories and failures, our dreams and anxieties trusting that the Lord will ever be with us to be the light and guide of our lives. When we are experiencing darkness in life right now, know that our Lord comes to be a light for you today. Let us put our focus on the light, Jesus Christ Himself.
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