Date: Sunday, February 02, 2020
The baby is perceived to be a source of light and hope! Simeon foresees in Jesus a manifestation of God’s glory and salvation; a sign of contradiction; and to Mary, a piercing of her heart. Anna gives thanks to God and speaks with all awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
Today, Presentation of the Lord, breaks the rhythm of Ordinary Time and recalls the Christmas Season. Joseph and Mary take Jesus, a baby, to the temple in Jerusalem for Mary’s purification and for the dedication of Jesus to the Lord. It is called Candlemas Day when candles are blessed. The image of light infuses our liturgy. Jesus is the light of the world. Simeon and Anna, elderly and faithful, are enlightened to see Jesus as the fulfillment of their hope. We are a people of light.
Light is a powerful symbol of our coming to know the deeper meaning of life. St. Augustine writes of the mysterious light in his Confessions. “Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so because you were my helper. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: your immutable light. It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shinning more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity. No, it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things; and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as heaven is above earth. The light was above me because it had made me; I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light.”
Thomas Merton, in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, writes: “At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. . . . It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely.”
On this Superbowl weekend when we are fixed on the glare of artificial lights, we pray to see other persons not as objects but as subjects or beings of light. Jesus calls us to be children of light.