Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The “40th Day of Christmas” - an Epiphany in the Temple

Today we have celebrated the solemn Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

It has now been 40 days since Christmas, when we recalled with joy the birth of Jesus, the Word made flesh who has come to dwell with us, to reveal the glory of God and the immeasurable depths of His love for us. 

Today Jesus is brought to the Temple in Jerusalem by Mary and Joseph in accordance with the Mosaic Law. Here He is revealed to the faithful of the Old Covenant who have ardently awaited His coming. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, there are a few who recognize the baby Jesus as the Messiah in this joyful "epiphany," as Simeon testifies: "My eyes have seen the salvation which You have prepared in the sight of all nations. A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel" (Luke 2:30-32).

Then "Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, '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 may be revealed.'" (Luke 2:34-35).

Since Jesus is the "light of revelation," today is also a special day for the blessing of candles, "Candlemas." One month from today, we begin the liturgical season of Lent, in penance and preparation for the observance of that Holy Friday when Jesus takes our sins upon Himself... and the Resurrection of Easter Sunday. 

Christ is our Light in every darkness.


At the beginning of today’s Mass, there is often a formal procession, where this beautiful prayer is used: