Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
(Malachi 3:1-4; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:32)
The agent of a dietary food sold his products to people who wanted to lose weight and retain strength. He had to convince them to undergo a rigorous diet. He told his clients to spend whole days imbibing only the liquid shake of protein and vitamins. He said that the process would provide energy while purifying the people of the fats that had accumulated inside their bodies. We can see today’s feast as having a similar effect.
The first reading describes the coming of the prophet into the Temple as a refiners’ fire. It means that his words, given by the Lord, will purify the people of rebelliousness. The gospel foretells the cleansing taking place with Jesus whom Simeon sees as causing the fall of the self-contented and the rise of those who strive to do God’s will. But Jesus will have more far-reaching effect. He will bring the pagan nations to the God of Israel as was promised by the prophet Isaiah. He will show them that the Lord does not require heroic deeds but faith in him.
We have an ancient custom of processing with burning candles today. We should note its significance. The flame burns away the candle fat to produce light. It is a way of showing the Christian mystery. By putting faith in Jesus Christians remove their egotism and shine his glory in the world.