02 February 2007

The Presentation of Christ

Let’s be honest. There isn’t anything quite as touching and beautiful than a child’s face bathed in candlelight. By that standard today’s procession for the Feast of Candlemas was a candidate for the front of a Hallmark card. Several children were chosen from the classrooms to represent all the students as we made our way from the narthex to the Lady Chapel, candles glowing, those in the procession doing their very best to follow the instructions to “hold the candle straight and don’t burn the hair of the person in front of you.” They were successful in avoiding any mishap.

During the homily I reminded them that it is a good and just king who obeys his own laws. And God was doing just that. As the Incarnate Word He conformed Himself to those laws meant to honor Him. And it took place in the very Temple which was built to worship Him. Old Simeon had waited for years and he had seen countless infants brought into the Temple, but by the stirring of the Holy Spirit within him he knew this was the One. The veil was lifted from his eyes, as on a future day the Temple veil would be torn in two. The Infant in Simeon’s arms foreshows the Victim on the arms of the Cross. And the aged prophet’s words to the Virgin Mother would be fulfilled in union with her Son’s suffering.

It was a beautiful celebration, this continuing epiphany, this ongoing revelation of our Lord. It reminds us of the importance of obedience as we see Christ’s obedience. It reminds us of the importance of waiting upon God as we hear of the waiting of Simeon and Anna. And it reminds us of the importance of offering our best love to God as we witness Joseph and Mary offering back to God the Beloved Infant entrusted to them. It is a eucharistic image, this presentation, as Christ is offered to the Father.