Homilette for Monday, February 2, 2009

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

(Malachi 3:1-4; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-32)

We call today’s feast “the Presentation of the Lord,” but traditionally it was known as “Candlemas Day.” For centuries on this day churches blessed all the candles that they would use in the course of the year. The motive for this grand dedication is Simeon’s declaration in today’s gospel that Jesus is “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” He will be the Israelite through whom Isaiah’s vision of world unity and peace is fulfilled.

Jesus is light, fire, and flame, but not the whole candle. The wax of the candle is humanity. Like wax we have much fat to be burned away. We can equate the fat with our pride, greed, and lust. Jesus like a fire burning wax takes away these sins so that we might participate in his illumination. With our vices consumed, we are rendered sincere – a word coming from two Latin words meaning “without wax.”

We can think of Christ igniting us especially when we partake of the Eucharist. His words move us to repentance and his body and blood sanctify us to testify to his glory in the world. We do this by words and, perhaps more effectively, by lives of sincere service.