The Mass of Candles: The Feast of Candlemas standing between Christmas and Easter, marks the twilight of the Christmas season and falls at the end of our forty-day journey through Christmas and Epiphany.
We pause, taking a last look back at the infant Jesus in the manger, and a long look forward to the Cross at Golgotha.
The story began when the baby was born , the boy born to be the world’s true light. It was fraught with difficulties from the beginning but Mary and Joseph managed to rise about all the uncertainties.
It was the Jewish custom to dedicate the first-born son to God and they did so, in the Temple, to remind themselves that the child belonged to God and was a gift from God. Mary and Joseph were faithful to the custom of the forty days: the number of days and nights of the flood, the number of years their people had wandered in the wilderness and the number of days that their son would walk in the wilderness.
They had come to the Temple to make a sacrifice and a commitment to God. The offering they were making however was not only to God but also for the whole world.
In the Temple there were two elderly people, Simeon and Anna who had spent a lifetime waiting upon God, being silent before God, praising God, listening to God. Their whole lives had been immersed in God so that when the moment came, the recognised the light. The old man Simeon took the child out of Mary’s arms and held up the true light of the world, he lifted his perfect flame against the twilight , against weariness and death. Suddenly Simeon became a poet for the ages, announcing for all who cared to listen that the child he held was not Mary’s child but God’s very own. The child born to be the light for all ages and all peoples is the one who will walk through betrayal, passion and crucifixion , so that we know that nothing will prevent God from being with us.