Monday, February 2, 2015

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

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

Today’s feast is formally called the “Presentation of the Lord.” More traditionally it is 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 inspiration for this grand event is Simeon’s declaration in today’s gospel that the baby Jesus is “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.”  He is the Israelite through whom Isaiah’s vision of world unity and peace will be fulfilled.

Jesus is the flame – light and heat in a cold, dark world.  But he is not the whole candle.  The trunk of the candle -- its wax -- is humanity.  Like wax humans have fat -- their pride, greed, hatred, and lust – which is to be burned away.  Jesus, who may be compared to the refiner’s fire of the first reading, rids us of these vices.  Doing so, he allows us to participate in his illumination of the world.  With our lives so chastened, we are rendered sincere – a word coming from two Latin words meaning “without wax.” 

Let us be sincere to all by leaving behind our vices.   Instead of pursuing pride and lust, let us follow Jesus, the light of the world.