“Today, 40 days after Christmas we celebrate this feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the purification of Mary. The feast of the Presentation in a sense completes the Christmas cycle because it is that final reference to the infancy of the child Jesus. This particular practice of the Jewish people was referred to in the Gospel today and that was that the first born male who opened the womb was belonging to God and that was in light of the fact of the first born male in Egypt being slain and so that idea of deliverance through that gift of salvation and therefore every first born of man or beast was dedicated to God and they had to be ransomed back and that was the ritual that was gone through at that time, so this presentation in the temple was a recognition that this life belongs to God and that is something that is not strange at all because we all recognize that we have been presented to the Lord individually, not just the first born male, but each and every one of us has been offered unto God when our parents brought us for baptism or when we personally came forward for baptism that was a presentation of ourselves to the Lord recognizing that our life is a gift that all that we have is gift and ultimately does belong to God and will be returned to God and every Eucharist that we celebrate continues to express that gift of our self. The preparation of the gifts is really a representation of ourselves putting ourselves upon the altar recognizing that we truly are gifted by God and our life becomes our gift back to God. What a beautiful little reminder that is at every Eucharist that we celebrate that we have been presented to God that we have that special dignity of sons and daughters of God and that we live that out each day.
This day is also known as Candlemas Day because on this day there’s a blessing for the candles for the wax that is used to illuminate the celebration of the Eucharist throughout the year, but it refers to the fact that Simeon today in the Gospel refers to Jesus as the light to the Gentiles that he was the light and that symbol of light is very important for Jesus. He referred to himself, ‘I am the light of the world and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.’ That image of Jesus as the light is certainly physically reminded in the Easter candle that Easter Candle that burns brightly and that idea of light has so many different meanings to it, but two of the fundamental ones is light illumines, dispels the darkness so that we can walk without stumbling without falling as so that light of Christ’s truth is the guide for us in our life enabling for us to know the truth of who we are and what our life is about and the destiny that we have and then light also warms and it’s a reminder of that love of Christ, that warmth of Christ’s love manifested upon the cross, but present to us each day and especially within the Eucharist that we share and so this is a time for us to remember as we celebrate our baptism today that we all have received that light of Christ. There’s that little ceremony where we light a candle from the Easter candle and present it to the parents and say, ‘May this light be kept shining brightly.’ And that’s the call for each and every one of us. We’ve all receive that light of Christ in baptism and we are called to shine forth with that light each day, that truth of Christ Jesus that love that we all need and that Christ wants to share with each and every one of us.”