Forty days after the birth of Jesus, in fulfillment of the law of Moses, "Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord" ( LK 2:22). Simon took Jesus in his arms, dedicated him to God, and identified Him as "a light of revelation to the gentiles, and glory for your people Israel" (LK 2:23). Jesus is the light that conquers the darkness of sin and death. We recall and celebrate that day on this Sunday, the feast of the presentation of the Lord or Candlemas day. From the seventh century or thereabout, the church established a tradition of blessing candles at the feast of the Presentation mass; we may use these candles for religious devotions throughout the year.
At baptism, we were presented in the church as infants by our parents and dedicated to God as children of light. The priest gave candles lit from the paschal candle to us and said, "You have been enlightened by Christ. Walk always as a child of the light and keep the flame of faith alive in your heart" ( Rite of Baptism for Children, 44). Consequently, we must be bearers of the light of faith to the world, a bold witness that would sometimes make of us a "sign that will be opposed," for instance, on issues like the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death. But we must not shy away from being a light to the world. We must boldly display the light of faith for all to see and be enlightened.
We had moments of witness-bearing in our parish this past week that are worth celebrating:
1. Pat Minnick, Andy Gladfelter, Gary Barb, Patti Becker, Kathy Bevel, Jason Stoltzfus, and his daughter Anna represented the parish at the March for Life in Washington DC! And they return with amazing reports of young people witnessing to the sanctity of life.
2. The church also had coffee and donut fellowship time after 8:30 and 10:30 Masses. They were successful. Please consider spending some time after these designated masses to meet and chat with other members of our parish family.
3. At the last Sunday of the Word of God masses, our devout teens, Travis Cleveland, Mary Bolesky, and Marcus Mancini, served as thurifer. It is on record that Mary Bolesky is the first female thurifer of the parish! Congratulations Mary!
Fr. Bernard Oniwe, OP