Homily for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Theme: The Presence of God
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Lk. 2:22-40) Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple
In today’s Gospel, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord or “Candlemas,” Jesus was presented by Mary and Joseph in the temple as part of the law of Moses on purification. “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and a sacrifice of “two turtle doves or two young pigeons” must be done. Simeon, a devout man and was told of the coming of the Messiah, recognized the baby Jesus as the one set by God. He told Mary and Joseph about Jesus as the light to the Gentiles. He can finally rest in God’s peace for he had seen the Lord.
This was also mentioned in the First Reading through the prophet Malachi. A messenger of light will quell the darkness. It was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The Second Reading testified to it by stating Jesus as the one sent, the High Priest. Thus, today’s celebration is the recognition of what Jesus did as symbolized by the blessing of candles which, when lighted, remind us and make us feel God’s presence. Tradition has it that we light the candle during challenging times like storms, quarrels, exams, contests, asking for healing, etc. It is also done during times of thanksgiving and celebrations like wedding anniversaries, birthdays, sacraments, victories, etc. We invite the Lord’s presence through the lighting of the blessed candles.
But let it be clear that it was not the candle nor its light which brings forth our prayers. In other words, we do not worship them. They are sacramentals, symbols and media to obtain God’s grace. God makes His presence through them. Without them, we can still avail of God’s graces. With them, we are aided and our faith motivated. Seeing and feeling the lighted candle helps us feel more God’s presence. So, today, we renew our faith in the Lord, the light of the world. He subdued darkness. He was the Light, our Saviour who merited us our salvation by conquering sin. Let us go to church bringing lots of candles so we will always have one lighted in good times and bad.