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What a Beautiful Light

The Presentation of the Lord

Every parish, large or small, historic or new, has its own particular beauty. I think my favorite thing here so far is in the spring and fall, the sunrise starts to be timed just right where – if its a sunny morning – our last stained glass window representing the resurrection paints the whole altar in this beautiful red glow right as I’m saying the Eucharistic Prayers during the weekday masses. I really don’t know how to describe it to you, the light, the color, the peace of a morning mass, and the joy of the Eucharist.

It’s something to see but it isn’t the particular beauty of our parish. Brighter than the light of the candles we blessed at the start of mass and more magnificent that the light of that stained glass window, is the light of all of us gathered here.

Simeon and Anna were devout people. They were drawn to the Temple and to the presence of God to dwell there in prayer and in peace at the end of their lives. But in seeing the infant Jesus their eyes were overwhelmed by what they saw. Simeon took the Christ child into his arms and said his eyes had seen salvation, the light of the Gentiles, and now he had the true peace he sought in his last days. Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

As we blessed the church candles at the start of this mass we held candles in our own hands to remind ourselves that the light of Christ, the light of revelation and glory, of salvation and peace, is carried now by us. What gave Simeon and Anna so much joy as now ours to give and to be in this world. When we were baptized we received our baptismal candle – or it was entrusted to our parents and godparents – being instructed to keep the flame of faith alive until the Lord comes again and we go out to meet him.

So on this feast of the Presentation of the Lord I invite you to do two very specific things.

The first is to recognize that beautiful light in your hearts and offer it to God with thanksgiving. When the gifts of bread and wine are placed on the altar we also place ourselves on the altar as an offering to God along with our Lord Jesus Christ. So today while the collection is taken up and the gifts are brought forward, I invite you to think of some very specific way in the past week that the light of Christ shone in your life. Some good work that you did, some kindness, some sacrifice… something large or small that you can say was the light of Christ preserved in your own life.

The second is in this coming week to see the light in someone else and to tell them of the goodness that you see in them. If you don’t have the courage or perhaps the relationship to do that easily, at least tell God of the goodness that you see. There is so much darkness and brokenness in this world, so many fears and anxieties… it is good for us to encourage one another.

You are the beauty of this parish, you hold the light of Christ.

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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.

Published inHomilies