Wednesday, 2 February 2022 : Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, World Day of Consecrated Life (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates the great Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas, because of the tradition of bringing candles to the Mass for them to be blessed and brought home, as a reminder of the Light of Christ that came to this world bringing a new hope and a new path towards God’s salvation and eternal life. Today is the fortieth day of Christmas in the tradition of the Church marking the forty days that have passed since the great celebration of Christmas.

This is the day that marked the moment back then when the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God was welcomed back into the community of the faithful people of God after her giving birth. According to the tradition of the Jewish people, a woman who had given birth was unclean until the fortieth day during which time the new mother was put in confinement. On the fortieth day, the mother ought to be brought to the Temple of God and then the priest would welcome the mother back into the community through a ritual of purification.

That is why today we traditionally also celebrate the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is now highlighted as the Presentation of Our Lord. That is because as mentioned in the Scriptures, both events happened at the same time as it would not have been possible for Mary to bring the Baby Jesus to the Temple unless she has been purified according to the Law. There, as Mary was purified and welcomed back into the community of the faithful, at the same time, her firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour was presented to the Lord according to the Law.

In the Presentation of the Lord, we heard how God was revealed to the people of Israel through His Son, born into this world in the flesh, the One begotten from the Father and not made, consubstantial and co-eternal with Him. This same Son, Our Lord and Saviour was presented before His Father, to be the Sign for all the Israelites of the coming of God’s salvation and grace at long last. At that time, the people had been waiting for a very long time for the coming of God’s salvation and the fulfilment of everything that He had promised through the prophets.

He came into this world, sharing in our human essence and existence so that He may bring unto us the salvation that He has promised. He was offered and consecrated at the Temple, the House of God, to be the High Priest of all the people of God, as a prefigurement of what He was to do for the sake of all mankind. As the High Priest of all, He would be the One offering the worthy sacrifice on our behalf, the offering for the atonement of our sins, and not just any offering but the perfect offering which He made on the Cross, the offering of His Most Precious Body and Blood.

Thus, today’s celebration of the Presentation of the Lord serves as the bridge that connects between the celebrations of Christmas and Easter, reminding us that the same Child born into this world and which we celebrate in Christmas is the same One Who would bear the burden of our sins on His Cross, as He ascended the Hill of Golgotha at the time of His Passion, as Our High Priest, offering His prayers and His oblations, the gift of His own Precious Body and Blood freely offered and given for the perfect atonement of our many and innumerable sins.

Today therefore we are reminded in our lives that we should live our lives faithfully as Christians following what Our Lord had taught and revealed to us. He has shown us all the path to eternal life, and He has done so many wonderful things for us because He loves each and every one of us, without any exception. He has provided for us all these while and given nothing less than His own Beloved Son to be Our Lord and Saviour. Are we not appreciative of all that He has done for us? Are we still going to be stubborn in our refusal to follow His path and in our own attachments to sin and evil?

These are the questions that we should ponder carefully in our hearts, and which we should consider as we continue to walk our path through the respective journey of our lives. Today we also celebrate the World Day of Consecrated Life, praying for all those who have given themselves and consecrated themselves to the Lord, following His very own examples, in becoming those who entered into consecrated life, as religious brothers and sisters, all who have committed themselves to a life of holiness and sacrifice, giving themselves for the greater glory of God, in serving us and many of their fellow brothers and sisters through prayer and works.

Let us all therefore seek the Lord with a renewed heart filled with hope for God’s salvation, and let us renew our faith in Him, our trust in His love and providence, and do whatever we can to glorify Him by our actions and deeds, through our every interactions and works in each and every moments of our daily lives, following the good examples of the many people who have given themselves to the service of God. May the Lord, our most loving God and Saviour, our Eternal High Priest, continue to love us and be with us throughout our long journey of life, that we may draw ever closer to Him and be worthy to find eternal life through Him. Amen.