2 Feb – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
This feast celebrates an early episode in the life of Jesus. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Presentation is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is one of the twelve Great Feasts. In many Western liturgical churches, Vespers (or Compline) on the Feast of the Presentation marks the end of the Epiphany season.
This feast is also known by other traditional names including Candelmas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord. Prior to the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Candlemas marked the end of the Christmas and Epiphany season.
The Western term ‘Candlemas’ (or Candle Mass) referred to the practice whereby a priest on Feb 2 (forty days after Christmas) blessed beeswax candles with an aspergilium (liturgical implement used to sprinkle holy water) for use throughout the year, some of which were distributed to the faithful for use in the home.
Since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, this feast has been referred to as the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, with references to candles and the purification of Mary de-emphasized in favour of the Prophecy of Simeon the Righteous. Pope John Paul II connected the feast day with the renewal of religious vows.
“…my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see…”
How blessed is Simeon to have seen the child Jesus despite his old age! It must have been his greatest dream come true!
In today’s times, I remember my friend telling me that God is not a saving grace; in fact, God is perceived to be a fierce, unyielding and controlling being that is so distant from us. Personally, I must admit that I used to see God as a distant and unrelatable being too; until I personally encountered Jesus’ true and real presence in the Eucharist at adoration rooms during one of my darkest moments in life, when I thought that everyone (including God) had left me alone in my troubles. I was struggling with emptiness, desolation, rejection from my friends, and hopelessness in my job hunt.
But the moment I saw Jesus at the Eucharist, I felt so warm and comforted in His presence. Jesus may not be around physically, but He is definitely with me spiritually. It’s like the oxygen that we breathe in — oxygen cannot be seen, but it is the very substance that sustains our life physically. Likewise, Jesus cannot be seen, but He gives us life.
Since my encounter with Jesus, I have been blessed with supportive friends and a job with accommodating and kind colleagues. At times I still feel desolate, and it is still a struggle, but I know that Jesus is always there for me.
Let us pray that when we face crises in life, we may turn our eyes to our saving grace, for Jesus has triumphed over death and darkness, and will always welcome us with His open arms.
(Today’s Oxygen by Brenda Khoo)
Prayer: Dear Lord, may we place our trust and hope in You; for You are our salvation and saving grace. Amen.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, thank you for being our saving grace and rescuing us in the darkest moments of life. Amen.