HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B. FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD
HOMILY THEME: THE PRESENTATION OF THE CHILD JESUS IN THE TEMPLE
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
In the day’s Gospel Jesus is presented in the temple according to tradition. After the period of purification for the mother, it was a Jewish custom to present a male that opens the womb in the temple to be consecrated to the Lord. The Church celebrate today the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. It is celebrated by blessing candles, symbolizing Jesus as the light of the world. It is known as the Candlemass or Pista ng Candelaria.
It was Simeon, witnessed by Anna the prophetess, who revealed who Jesus was to His parents, “Now, Master you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelations to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” He will be a sign that will be contradicted. Jesus is the Messiah who was foretold by the prophets and the one who is to come. Every Jew awaits His coming. Simeon recognised Him and thus made the proclamation.
Further revelation was made when Simeon told Mary, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted — and you yourself a sword will pierce—-so that the thoughts of many hearts make revealed’ Simeon was telling Mary that it will not be easy. Instead, it will be full of pains and rejections. Even Mary was not be spared. Simeon’s prayer was a purification for Mary.
On this day we bring candles in church to be blessed. These candles were meant to signify the presence of Christ when lighted. The candles are not what will enlighten us. The candles are not which will allay our fears and obtain us graces. It is who they signify. When we light the candles, we recognise the Lord’s presence. We invite Him in our lives. We express our faith in Him. During times of joy and sadness, victories and defeats, and asking God for some graces, we light the candle. Whenever we need God’s presence and assistance, we light the candles. Jesus, fulfilled His mission as prophesied by Simeon. Today, through the blessed candles, Jesus will again respond to our needs specially the need to be saved.
(It is important to note that tomorrow is the feast of St. Blaise, patron of all throat illnesses. In the mass tomorrow, the priest will bless the throats the faithful using two crossed candles which were blessed today.)