In the Year 2020, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord was celebrated on a Sunday.
On February 1 and 2, we invited all parishioners to bring a candle or two (or as many as they wished) that could be used in their home at their family table or prayer space. Following the homily at each Mass, a special blessing was given for these candles.
The feast of the Presentation is a day for the blessing of candles. The blessing of candles on the Feast of the Presentation is closely related to the Gospel narrative, introducing Jesus as the “Light of the people.” (Lk. 2, 32) The burning candle symbolizes the abiding presence of Jesus Christ in the midst of the Christian community as He, Himself, had promised: “Where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I in their midst.” (Mt. 18, 20) For this reason, the ritual of the Church prescribes that at least two candles be lit on the altar at all liturgical services, and the greater the solemnity, the greater the number of candles used. Why does liturgy require candles? In the first years of the church, worship was often at night, and candles and torches were carried from place to place within the worship space as needed. Candles were also a mark of festivity and hospitality when people gathered for prayer in homes, and later on in large buildings with thick walls and dark corners. But even after gaslight and electricity, candles were kept. Part of the reason has to do with the warm, clean light of a candle’s flame. Candles are a good sign of the partnership of God and creation: wax made by bees, gathered and fashioned by human hands into something beautiful and useful. In order for the light to shine, the candle surrenders itself, almost as if it is pouring itself out so that the light can flood into the world. The candle of baptism, placed into our hands, and carried again and again, speaks silently of that same wisdom. If you would save your life, you must lose it. You must pour your life out like Christ so that you may be filled with the light of his love.