Do you realize that 40 days have passed since we celebrated the Birth of Jesus at Christmas? It is amazing how quickly time just drifts away. Here is another interesting thought: Lent begins in 31 days! We step out of Ordinary Time for a moment this weekend and we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. Traditionally, this is a day when we take a moment to be like Simeon, who we hear from in the Gospel as he announces that all of the prophesies have been fulfilled and that he himself has seen the manifestation of the Christ and tells the Lord that he can now go in peace. The words of Simeon are worth a bit of reflection and so, since they are brief, I will, for the sake of your convenience, print them here.
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.” (Lk 2: 29-32)
The words are familiar to those who might pray Night Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours as this is how the day comes to a close. We use these words of praise after a day of service to thank God that He has given us the opportunity to bear witness to His very own Son, Jesus, throughout the whole day.
Another ancient tradition which usually takes place on the Feast of the Presentation is that we bless candles. Candles, a source of light, guide our way helping us to see with eyes of faith. The light helps us to see “the Light” who calls out of darkness to live in his own marvelous light. It a very special day in the life of the Church as we, like Simeon, announce that we now live in peace because we have seen God’s Son and we pray that we will continue to see Him each and every day, wherever we go and whatever we might find ourselves doing so that we can announce to the world that we too live as children of the light.