Presentation of the Lord
According to Mosaic Law, a new mother was considered unclean for 40 days after she had given birth. At the end of that period, she would enter the temple with her child, bringing an offering of either a lamb and a dove or pigeon, or two doves or pigeons, to be cleansed by prayers. Today’s feast commemorates Mary’s symbolic submission to that process, and also to the presentation of Jesus in the temple. The presentation stands as the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. The observance of this feast began in 4th-century Jerusalem, and was celebrated in Rome by the 5th century. It is a feast of both Our Lord and the Blessed Virgin. In the Eastern Church, it was called the Meeting of Jesus and Mary with Simeon and Anna, representatives of the Old Covenant. In the middle Ages, a tradition began of blessing candles and holding a procession of light on this day. As a result, this feast is also known as Candlemas: Christ our light has come to us.
REFLECTION FOR THE DAY
For he is like a refiner’s fire… Malachi 3:2
To refine is to make fine again, to purify. Refining processes may involve fire, certain chemicals or a machinery using centrifugal force to strain out impurities. Human refinement usually means discomfort, even pain! Much of our collective anxiety with the COVID-19 pandemic concerned the unknown. Would our lives ever look like they had before the virus? Many surmised there was no going back to the past. The civil unrest that erupted marked the need for fundamental changes in the way we live together. The medieval years of plague were followed by the Italian Renaissance that spread through Europe – a flowering of culture and a yearning to return to ancient wisdom. Individuals strove to be widely educated, to reach the pinnacle of what it meant to be human. How have the challenges and hardships of the pandemic and its resulting changes caused you to be “refined”.