There’s something wonderful about candlelight, isn’t there? It’s mysterious, comforting, joyful, simple, and relaxing. For we Christians, candlelight can speak to us of Jesus himself- he who is the light from light, the light of the world, the light that shall not be overcome by darkness.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, traditionally known as “Candlesmas,” because the liturgy begins with our bringing blessed candles into the midst of the church.
We do this in memory of what we heard in today’s gospel: How when Mary and Joseph brought their child into the great Jerusalem Temple, Simeon, a faithful man filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed Jesus to be the “light of the nations.”
This occasion of Jesus’ coming to the Temple is symbolic of Jesus coming to us, his people, because Scripture speaks of us as living stones of a living temple, of which Jesus himself is the capstone.
Through the Holy Spirit, Simeon and Anna recognized Jesus coming to them as a baby. Through the Holy Spirit, we recognize Jesus coming to us in so many ways: in his word proclaimed in Holy Scriptures, in our sufferings and our joys, in the faces of the poor and vulnerable, in the faces of our Christian brothers and sisters, in the midst of this liturgical assembly, in the person of the priest standing at the altar, and supremely in his Body and Blood given to us in the Eucharist, the one pure sacrifice foretold in the first reading, from Malachi.
When Jesus came to Simeon at the Temple, Simeon rejoiced and burst into song. We rejoice today that Jesus comes to us, we who are the temple, and that we have a loving savior who is so close, so intimate, and so near.