This Wednesday, February 2nd is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also celebrated as “Candlemas,” the Feast of Light and Hope. Candlemas is an ancient feast that has developed over the centuries. The liturgy focuses on the meeting of Christ with the elderly Simeon. With Simeon we rest our hope in the Lord. The Gospel includes the beautiful Canticle of Simeon, Nunc Dimittis, which is said at the Church’s Night Prayer: Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.
This the last feast of the liturgical calendar that we commemorate Christ still as an infant child but it is also clearly connected to the upcoming Lenten and Easter seasons. Mary and Joseph offering Jesus to God is the beginning of His earthly ministry for His Heavenly Father. This is the first of Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows, and a foreshadowing of the Cross. Even the popular name Candlemas hints at the “light to reveal you to the nations“ that we celebrate at Easter with the blessing and procession of the Paschal Candle.
Parishioners are invited to bring candles to all Masses on Wednesday to be blessed for religious use in the home. We will also be blessing the candles which will be used for the Blessing of Throats at all Masses on Thursday, February 3rd, Memorial of St. Blaise.