Presentation of the Lord
February 2, 2020
Celebrating today’s feast is a little like finding a leftover Christmas present we forgot to open. This year it’s celebrated on a Sunday, so the usual “Ordinary Time” readings give way to the beautiful story of Mary and Joseph presenting the infant Jesus in the temple.
I don’t have time here to explore all the riches of this feast. For centuries the Church has celebrated this day as a hopeful bit of light in winter’s darkness—at least in the Northern Hemisphere! We traditionally bless candles on this day, thus giving the feast another name: “Candlemas.”
Luke–whose Gospel story we read today–was interested in connecting his Gentile Christian audience with the rich tradition which nurtured the Christian faith. He paints a beautiful portrait of two figures—Simeon and Anna—who meet Jesus in the temple. They confirm to Mary and Joseph how their child fulfills ancient prophecies to Israel. He will be “a light of revelation to the Gentiles.”
Simeon’s words form a canticle used by the Church in its Night Prayer for the Liturgy of the Hours. You might want to make it your own, asking God to give you peaceful rest at day’s end. At least sometime during every day we’re gifted—like Simeon—with the revelation of God at work in our lives through Jesus Christ.