REFLECTION FOR THE FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A), Week beginning 5TH FEBRUARY 2023
The opening 5 days of February have 2 stand-out days Liturgically: CANDLEMAS on its 2nd day: the Presentation of the baby Jesus in the Temple; the next day is the ‘Optional Memorial’ of Saint Blaise.
For us, the context of these 2 days is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Presentation in the Temple unveiled the baby Jesus as Light born for the world – Light for the nations.
On the following day (February 3rd), candles feature again but this time they are unlit. At the Mass of St. Blaise, 2 candles in ‘X’ shape are placed over parishioners’ necks in the BLESSING OF THROATS.
Both days can most definitely contribute in drawing us to the absolute centrality of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – for it is our most profound encounter with Jesus Christ, both one-to-one and as community. We attend to be enlightened by the Light of the World. We attend to be fed by the Word of God and by His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. (Even when for whatever reason we are unable to outwardly receive Him, we can most certainly inwardly rejoice at being in His Eucharistic Presence).
The Mass originates from Jesus’ words and actions at the Last Supper, on the eve of His death. The Mass is a re-presentation, in the form of a sacrament, of Jesus’ self-sacrifice on Mt. Calvary. Therefore, the altar corresponds to the Cross. At Mass, Jesus offers Himself to God the Father, sacramentally on our behalf. The Mass is a commemoration or memorial of His wondrous self-sacrifice on the first Good Friday.
‘Eucharist’ is Greek for THANKSGIVING. May we always approach the Mass in a spirit of humble thanksgiving to God the Father and to Jesus. The Holy Spirit will always direct us to such a mindset as this.