REFLECTION FOR 4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C), Week beginning 30 January 2022
This Wednesday, February 2nd, is Candlemas – the feast of Light – exactly 40 days from Christmas Day, inclusive of December 25th. It recalls the Presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple – Mary and Joseph attending Jerusalem to fulfil the requirements of the Jewish Law. The Biblical account of this event is found in Luke 2: 22-38. The basic requirement, as attested in Exodus 13:2 was “Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord” – and a sacrifice had to be offered – two turtledoves or two young pigeons.
The elderly holy man Simeon meets the Holy Family and exclaims his prayer, the “Nunc Dimittis” – addressing God the Father, he said he could now leave this earth as he had been graced with the sight of the Saviour-Child of the world. Simeon then blesses the Holy Family, prophesying the Cross that will visit the Child, and the cross that will visit His Mother. The other aged holy person in the Temple that day was the prophetess Anna. She was a widow and 84 years old. She never left the Temple, praying and fasting night and day. Upon sight of the Child, she praises God for giving the One who will bring Jerusalem deliverance. He will be the Light of the World. By dying, He will conquer death once and for all. By rising, He will restore life to believers in Him. The Cross referred to by Simeon will be the means of His triumph. The deliverance anticipated by Anna will, in reality, be a deliverance from eternal death for believers – far more profound than a mere military deliverance for Jerusalem. As we draw near to Candlemas 2022, we know we are used to seeing many lit candles on the News, at or near the site of a tragic incident.
When we light candles or see candles alight in church, may they remind us of all God has done for us – God the Father sending His Only Begotten Son for our salvation; God the Father and God the Son jointly sending the Holy Spirit for our spiritual enlightenment.