This Thursday, 2nd February, is Candlemas Day, the Feastday of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, and, in a sense, the end of the Christmas season. This is the day recorded in the Gospel of Luke when, forty days after birth, the Jewish law required that every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord. When Joseph and Mary got to the Temple, an upright and devout man, Simeon, prompted by the Holy Spirit, met the Holy Family and took the baby into his arms and blessed God saying: Now my eyes have seen your salvation, the glory of your people Israel, a light to enlighten the pagans. Jesus Christ is the Glory of Israel: He has fulfilled all the hopes and promises of Old. More, He is the Light of the World. He has overcome evil, sin and the powers of darkness. That’s why on this day at the start of Mass candles are blessed and lit. Christ is our Light. Without Christ, human lives have no fundamental meaning. Without Christ, human moral value-systems become groundless. Without Christ, there is no eternal life, no heaven to look forward to, and human hearts are restless, yearning for a happiness that can never be fulfilled. The Church uses candles not to create a mystical atmosphere but because they are symbols. Candles symbolise Christ. Like a candle shining in the darkness, Christ is the light of the world. To give off light, a candle burns up its own body-mass. So too, Christ in his birth, life and death, gave up Himself for our salvation. You and I have received His light into our hearts through baptism. He has chosen us personally to be His disciples. And He calls us to share that Light with others. This is why as we carry candles at Mass, we must recognise our call in Him to radiate that Light of Christ to others.
Let us pray on Thursday that the clergy and faithful of our Diocese may form a bright light that draws people to Jesus Christ and salvation.