Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Candlemas : The Presentation of the Lord

Forty days ago we celebrated the joyful feast of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we recall the holy day on which he was presented in the temple, fulfilling the law of Moses and at the same time going to meet his faithful people. Led by the Spirit, Simeon and Anna came to the temple, recognised Christ as their Lord, and proclaimed him with joy. United by the Spirit, may we go now to the house of God to welcome Christ the Lord. There we shall recognise him in the Breaking of the Bread until he comes again in glory. (From the Missal of Paul VI)

Almighty everlasting God,
we humbly beseech thy majesty:
that, as thy only-begotten Son
was this day presented in the temple
in substance of our flesh;
so we may be presented unto thee
with purified minds.
Through the same Jesus Christ
thine only Son, our Lord,
Who liveth and reigneth with thee
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
God, world without end. Amen. (Collect)

From a sermon preached by Fr Ivan Aquilina (go HERE for the entire sermon):
Today the Mystery of Incarnation is made manifest in its totality, it is pure light that points towards the Easter Mysteries. Today we are invited to take a last look at Bethlehem and to take our first look at Jerusalem and the cross on that green hill far away. Today is a turning point.

This feast day inspired generations, it inspires us also. Today the great mother of God Mary went in the temple carrying the light - Jesus - in her hands, and likewise we shall do tomorrow as we carry the light in our hands. Mary offered and shared this light to us, and likewise she invites us today to share with gladness and joy the light we carry.

Jesus is our light; he is our light in a manger, he is our light in the temple, he is our light nailed to the cross on Calvary, let us approach him in humility. Let us ask him to dwell in us and give us the grace that like Mary we may be worthy to carry him with us so that with him we can conquer the darkness of evil. Mary carried the Jesus-Light in the temple, today we are to carry the same Jesus-Light not into this temple, but we are being called to carry Him with us outside and share him with a world that is in desperate need for Light. And this is Liturgy according to its real meaning, making Christ alive in the here and now.

The processional hymn:
See how the age-long promise of a Saviour
Spoken through lips of prophets by the Spirit,
In blessed Mary, Mother of the Christ-child,
Finds its fulfilment.

Virgin most pure, and wondrously conceiving,
bearing incarnate God in awed obedience,
Now she presents him for a spotless offering
Unto his Father.

In God's high temple, Simeon the righteous
Takes to his loving arms with holy rapture
That One for whom his longing eyes had waited,
Jesus, Messiah.

Where now his Mother next her Son is seated,
In those fair mansions of the heavenly kingdom,
May Christ our Saviour grant to us his servants
Life everlasting.

Father eternal, Son and Holy Spirit,
Trinity blessed, Maker and redeemer,
Giver of life, and Author of salvation,
Thine be the glory.
(Quod chorus vatum, ascribed to Rhabanus Maurus 776 - 856)


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