The feast of Candlemas is one of two halves. It is of Light and Shade. Of looking forward and of looking back.
Backward to Christmas: because this marks the end of the Christmas season. Forty days after Christmas, the time for purification had come and the parents of Jesus came to the temple in Jerusalem to present their baby to the Lord. They came to offer the sacrifices on behalf of their first-born child required by the law of Moses, to give thanks to the Lord their God for the gift of a son.
But is that all we celebrate today? No, we are on the cusp between the two great focal points of the Church’s Year. We look forward through Lent to the solemnity and wonder of Holy Week and Easter. To grasp the connection between this holy feast of Candlemas and the momentous events of the Christian Pasch in Holy Week and Easter we need to think for a moment about the principal purpose for which the parents have brought their child to the temple. It is to redeem him, to sacrifice to the Lord ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons’.
We also look forward to Lent and Easter. We must look forward to the fulfilment of that redemption in the reconciliation of all people to God and forward to the fulfilment of our own redemption when we come at last to the joy and glory of heaven.
THE LITURGY TODAY
ALL SAINTS CHURCH
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