Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. In short, we can call today’s feast another “Epiphany of the Lord.” The Feast of the Presentation is another revelation of Jesus Christ as the Light of the World. We carry our blessed candles to proclaim Him as our Light and Guide. Jesus is the Light that wipes away the gloom of darkness that blinds us and refrains us from embracing God’s love and mercy.
At the feast of Epiphany, we celebrated the universality of the salvation which Jesus Christ offers to the entire humanity; God, as St. Peter told us, showing no partiality, and offering his salvation to all who are willing to embrace it. Today, we come to the Temple, with Mary and Joseph who fulfill their duty by observing the Law. There are two things to consider as we celebrate today’s feast: Firstly, Jesus, who is the Son of God and God does not need any purification. He was already consecrated. Yet, He is brought to the Temple for the rite. The Feast is thus the revelation of Jesus Christ as the High Priest to the Temple. He is the Light that enlightens everyone who seeks God. He is the Messiah. Secondly, Mary, the Mother of the Lord, was prepared and exempt of sin, and therefore, had no need for purification either. Why then did she undertake the journey and accomplish the process? Through and by her intercessory action, she demonstrates her humble obedience to God by fulfilling the law. Her action allows us to encounter our Redemptor. Simeon and Anna represent both the hope of Israel who were awaiting the King and the Consoler, and us who are called to share in the salvation and blessings from God.
The Feast of the presentation reveals also one truth: that salvation and true happiness passes through the reality of the Cross. We hear about it from the very month of Simeon whose message to Mary describes the mission of the Child: “… This child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted – and you yourself a sword will pierce – so that the thoughts of many may be revealed.” The Lord, took the path of suffering by His Passion in order to save us and to show us the way and to remind us that we also, will have, as we follow him, to experience and embrace suffering not as curse but as invitation to join the Lord on our journey to salvation. The Blessed Mother understood this, walked the path with her Son. She embraced God’s will and her heart was pierced at every step of the life of her Son. Yet, she neither gave up nor turned to hopelessness. We also are encouraged, as we carry the candles that remind us of Jesus as the Light of the world, that we will be facing challenges and difficulties in our every day’s life; but if we hold on to our faith and trust in the Lord, He will always lead us through and enable us to share in His eternal happiness and glory.
Today’s feast becomes at the end of the day a challenge for us all in today’s culture that is concerned with the tendency of escaping from every king of pain or suffering. Today’s world starves for a pain free life. Jesus, through the Feast of the Presentation, teaches us otherwise: we have to strive to pass through the narrow gate; which means to always demonstrate the attitude of humble acceptance of suffering with faith, knowing that we will be made victorious with the One who died for us to se us free from every sorrow and suffering.
Let us continue to pray for one another and for our parish family, as we ask the Lord to give us the courage to embrace suffering as our commitment to unite ourselves to His own saving Passion for our sake.
– Fr. Emery