Presentation of the Lord

Beloved in Christ,[i] today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It is often called Candlemass, and today we bless all the candles for the year.
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The Presentation of the Lord is when the Child Jesus was presented in the Temple. At the time of Christ, the Law required that a first-born son should be brought to the temple and offered to God. And so Mary and Joseph did this, bringing Jesus to the Temple.
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At that time however, the Blessed Virgin did not offer her Son as other mothers did. Others offered them to God in a merely religious ceremony, but Mary offered her Son, knowing that this offering of Jesus was going to be completed by his death on the cross. God willed that his Son should pay the penalty that we deserved, but just as God would not become man without the consent of his mother, so too, the life of Jesus would not be sacrificed without the consent of his Mother. Thomas Aquinas says that mother’s have a special right over their children, and so it was fitting that Jesus would not be condemned for the sins of the world without the consent of his Mother.
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It was for the love of mankind, that Mary delivered her Child into the arms of Simeon as an offering to God. As St. Bernard says, ‘when God was to redeem the human race, he deposited the whole price in Mary’s hands.’ St. Epiphanius calls her a priest, because she offered him up to God. Only with difficulty then, did Simeon announce to Mary that her Son would be a sign of contradiction, and that her own soul will be pierced.
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Because this Child is offered to God, and crucified, how many martyrs will there be? How many thousands of men and women will be torn to pieces by lions and put to death, because of this Child.’ A sign of contradiction.
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During the Passion of Christ, when he was unjustly accused, Mary was silent. She said nothing to Pontius Pilate, who even seemed inclined to set him free. It was for love of us, that Mary consented to the Crucifixion, to complete the offering of her Child, first made in the Temple today.
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We repeat this offering at every Mass in the Temple of heaven. Mary in Scripture is a symbol of the Church, and so as Mother Mary offered Christ for our salvation, Mother Church brings Jesus and offers him in God’s temple at every Mass, for our sins. But not only is Jesus offered, every Christian with Christ, is offered.
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All the candles that are blessed today, remind us that Christ is the Light who has come into the world. We too, are supposed to be other ‘Christs’ – other Lights in the world.

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[i] Glories of Mary, p. 395-399

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