Sunday, February 2, 2020

Presentation of the Lord

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Colloquially in the Catholic Church, this day is often called "Candlemas" which is from the Old English version Candelmaesse. On this day, we recall how Christ was presented to the Lord in the Temple and the Blessed Virgin Mary underwent the rite of purification.  Leviticus 12 tells us the rite of presenting a lamb as a offering to burn, as well as, a young pigeon or dove as an offering for sins committed. For quite some time, the Presentation of the Lord was the official day when the Christmas season ended. Some who still adhere to the Pre-Vatican II Liturgies still keep this practice while others stop celebrating the Nativity at the Epiphany or Baptism of the Lord.  The day is called "Candlemas" because of the use of vigil candles during the celebration. Candles are blessed on this day. 

Today's readings point us to Christ, the messenger who God is sending. In other words, the Messiah. Christ is the King. This is what the word "Christ" means. He is the Messiah, or the anointed one who was chosen by God. This does not mean Christ is just a human prophet God chose like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David or John. Christ is way much more. He is God. He is the second person of the Holy Trinity. Jesus is the King of Glory who became one of us in flesh and blood. He was a human in all ways possible except for sin. Jesus is the Sacrificial Lamb God provided to redeem the world. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is no accident. God preordained all of this. Jesus being presented was not just a typical Jewish ritual. It is way more meaningful. He IS the Lamb that was presented. He IS the sin offering presented.  It is no coincidence that Jesus is called the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  This is what He is.  


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