Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – 2nd February
The celebration of the Presentation of the Lord known more popularly as Candle Mass allows the opportunity to notice how Christ brings light to our world. Often this happens at Baptism where we are immersed into the Christ-life and called to allow His life to be the guiding light of our lives. The focus of this feast is how our attention is drawn in anticipation that we will meet Christ even when he comes disguised as a little child totally dependent upon those around him. It is probably good to notice the characters who form part of this story.
First, there is Mary and Joseph who undertake what the law requires in bringing their child before God to be consecrated to Him. There may be a slight sense of irony here in that the one who imparts the blessing is the one they offer to be blessed. Yet in this mystery, we see how fully Jesus enters into our human life. He calls a blessing down upon us that we may allow Him to be at the centre of our lives. That he holds our attention and focus on who He actually is for us and with us.
Second, Simeon lays out how fully this life is missionary in character by the way he is called to bring light to all nations and gather people to Him. There is a recognition that his life enters into our most secret thoughts. There is nothing human that cannot be revealed and opened up before God. There is a sense of confidence that His life will allow others to rise from the oppression which can weigh down on them and love them into a deeper relationship with God. This is like a sword being plunged into us that we may lay our vulnerable selves before God without pretence.
Lastly, there is Anna who praises God with her life. One which is focussed on fasting and prayer so that her heart may be aware of how God is here with us. There is a sense of what she said about Jesus was pondered deeply by those who heard it.
For us, we are called to see how we make each day an offering to the Lord. How we are aware and attentive to where we meet Him. Where do our lives shed light and bring light to others? How do we help others to share what is most important to them and help them to gain the confidence to bring their secret life before God? How do we seek at the end of the day to give thanksgiving for who we are? Each day is an opportunity to meet Christ. Where will we meet Him today?
Fr. John Armstrong