Forty days after Jesus' birth, Mary and Joseph presented Him at the Temple in obedience to Jewish law. It is the consecration of the first born male to the Lord. The original idea was the firstborn belonged to the Lord and would spend his life serving the Lord. Today we celebrate this event as the Feast of The Presentation of the Lord it is celebrated in the Liturgy as "Candelaria.", the rituals of candles. Candles are blessed and lighted to welcome the Child Jesus- the Lord-as he enters the temple. “Candelaria is a feast of light. The First Reading is a 400-year old prophecy that the coming Savior would be a blazing fire that refine and purify man's heart. The Second Reading reminds us that Christ became man to lead us out of the darkness of sin and selfishness due to fear of death, and set us free to love. In the Gospel, Simeon recognizes the baby Savior as the light to the nations. We too, Christians, should always have a desire to see the light in our lives and everything we do. The gospel suggests two ways by which we can see the light: when, like Mary and Joseph, we offer to the Lord all the best what we have and all what we are and when we follow the laws of the Lord. If we live by the word of God and his will, if we are faithful to God, surely we will see the light even in the darkness moment of our lives.
My dear friends, today let us present ourselves to Jesus at the Temple and light up candles at Mass, asking to be refined and purified, and renew our commitment to follow His Light out of darkness. May His Light shine through us so that all may see the peace, harmony and joy in walking with Jesus. Let us always remember there will be no fulfillment and happiness greater than to have Christ as light of our life…. Happy Feast Day of the Presentation of the Lord...
It's hard to understand the laws of nature like math, physics & chemistry, but we know they are true and valid, we have "faith" in them since we see they produce plants, animals and other good things that keep us alive (Gospel). It's also hard to understand God's laws of chastity, sacrifice & forgiveness, and why He allows pain and tragedies. But we can be sure that the same God who created the laws of nature for our good, also created the laws of morality to produce good outcome in those who faithfully obey His laws, participate in the process, and trust in His providential love. God is faithful and NEVER lies. "So do not throw away your trust; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." (Heb 10:35-36 NIV) Let us ask God to decrease our fears and increase our love for Him.
After the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, today we honor the heroic work of 2 of his disciples, Sts. Timothy and Titus. Paul, the Church builder, ordained them bishops of the churches in Ephesus and Crete where they taught what they learned and passed on the faith amidst great trials. Aside from Paul, they also learned the faith from their grandmother and mother (2Tm 1:5). This is how the Kingdom of God grew. Jesus, Light of the World, first lit up the apostles, who lit up the bishops, who lit up our grandparents, who lit up our parents. This is the apostolic growth of the Church that the Holy Spirit guides. Let us always try to understand the continuity, wholeness and beauty of the Church and her teachings, and pass them on to light up the next generation. But let us remember that if we want to work for God like our Saints today we must not be preoccupied and spend more time with investment with material things. We'll use them for the service of the kingdom of God. They are means not ends. We Christians should know that lure of luxuries , comfort, privileges like position and possession should not blind on the road to heaven. As we claim the name Christian we believe also that Christ and his cross are crowns of glory. The earth is only a way to heaven.
Today we celebrate the Conversion of St. Paul. Jesus converted Saul, persecutor of Christians, into Paul, Champion of Christianity. The 1st Reading tells the dramatic conversion, how he was struck down by a great light and heard Jesus speak to him. Similarly it can take a tragedy or illness to strike us off our high horse into the dirt to make us hear Jesus and see the light to a new life. In the Gospel, Jesus commands us converts to "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature." We who regularly attend Mass are challenged to proclaim the Gospel not only by mouth or by religious practices but by deeds of caring for victims of poverty, injustice, persecution and addiction. Let us pray for the conversion of our hearts and minds into seeing the Eucharist beyond devotion and on to mission as members of the Body of Christ. St. Paul pray for us.