Candlemas - Presentation of the Lord
Forty days after Christmas, the epiphany continues. Jesus is manifest as the Light of all nations and the Savior of the world. This feast day used to be called the Purification of Mary. It is also called Candlemas, because candles are blessed at Mass on this day. In the Roman Tradition, this feast is called the Presentation of the Lord. In the Byzantine tradition of the East, this feast is called the Encounter.
The many names for today’s feast day indicate the many truths that the Lord is revealing to us today. Those who encounter Jesus in the Church, know that He is the Resurrection and the Life and that He will free us from sin and death. Those who are cleansed and purified in the waters of Baptism, are immersed into the death of Christ so that they might live in Christ forever. In the Eucharist, we join ourselves to Christ and are offered and presented as a spiritual sacrifice to God. Finally, like candles that are consumed as they burn and give light, we are to die to self so that the light of God’s love might be manifest through our lives.
On this great feast day, as we encounter the Lord in Word, Sacrament and one another, may we rejoice in the Light. May we radiate the light of God’s love to all we encounter this day and every day of our lives.