Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
February 2, 2014 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

We begin the celebration of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord with the lighting and blessing of candles. Today is a feast of light, an anticipation of the Easter Vigil. In the Presentation of the Lord, we glimpse the Paschal Mystery.  God is the source and origin of all light. We need light in order to walk. Without light, we cannot see our path or find our direction and may stumble.


Held by his mother, with Joseph following behind, Jesus entered the temple. He came not only to fulfill the law but to encounter us. His light dawns in the temple. It is not yet the brilliant sunlight of Easter. For now, the twilight of dawn dwells in the temple. Not all people were able to see it, to see the difference. Hundreds of people were in the temple but they did not realize that a new light had entered.


Among the hundreds of people who were there, only two of them realized that something different was happening, that this family was bringing them what they had been longing for.


Simeon and Anna were seeking the light. They were both old in years, which means they had been waiting a long time. This wait was not only theirs but that of all humanity. They symbolize all human beings in need of redemption and hope.


The crowds were distracted by many things. Although they were in the temple for religious purposes, they did not see the presence of God there.


Simeon and Anna had special hearts, full of desire and hope. Their hearts allowed them to see what others were unable to see: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” (Antoine Saint-Exupéry).


God’s presence is like the dawn. Its light could be confused with the darkness of the night. The light that shines at dawn is the beginning of far more light to come, with an aura of zenithal promise. It is the beginning of the day and not its end.


Simeon and Anna embraced the light. Therefore, Simeon said: “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” About Anna, the Gospel says: “She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Israel.” Whose eyes are illumined by the infinite are also able to help others see the light.


Simeon was righteous and devout. He was awaiting the consolation of Israel and the Spirit was upon him. Anna was always in the temple, worshiping night and day through fasting and prayer. To them applies what Jesus says in the Gospel According to John: “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him” (Jn 4:23).


Let us pray to be among the worshipers whom the Father is seeking. Let us follow the example of Simeon and Anna. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to encounter the One who says: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12).


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