Forty days after the birth of Jesus we mark the day Mary and Joseph presented him in the temple in accordance with Jewish law. There they were greeted by Simeon, an aged priest who offered the song “Lord, now you let your servant depart in peace,” as well as by the prophet Anna, who spoke of the redemption of Israel.
In some corners of the church, this festival is also known as Candlemas because of an ancient tradition of blessing all the candles to be used in the church in the coming year at the mass celebrated on that day. It was a way of underscoring the truth of Simeon’s confession that this baby Jesus was “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” and a light for glory to Israel. Let the light of every candle in church be a little epiphany of the love of God for all people in the person of God’s son, Jesus, the light of the world.
Almighty and ever-living God, your only-begotten Son was presented this day in the temple. May we be presented to you with clean and pure hearts by the same Jesus Christ, our great high priest, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.