Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! Just forty days ago it was our privilege to celebrate the nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. That light which no darkness will ever extinguish was born into this world.
We saw the Light increase as at Epiphany we celebrated His manifestation to all the nations and peoples of the earth. And today we celebrate the wondrous finale of this glorious season of Christmas as Our Lord Himself is presented in the Temple.
For the ancient Jews the Temple in Jerusalem was the center of all their faith. In fact in the Psalms we read, If I forget you Jerusalem let my right hand be forgotten. In The Temple God Himself dwelt in a mystical way.
It was the Law for the Jews that every first born male child would have to be presented in the Temple forty days after birth. The child would be consecrated to God. Then the child would be redeemed by either the offering of a lamb or two turtledoves. The rich would offer a lamb and the poor would offer the doves.
Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, ever faithful to the Law, presented Our Lord in the Temple and made the offering of the poor, two turtledoves. While so many people and so much activity surrounded Our Lord, people missed the grace filled event that was happening before them. God Himself Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Divine Person of the Blessed Trinity had come to the Temple. There was God before them in the Flesh, while they were looking for the mystical presence of God in the Temple.
But even at this joy filled moment a note of future sadness is introduced as the aged Simeon and Anna make their prophecies about the Child and how a sword of sorrow would pierce the heart of Our Lady.
This day is also known as Candlemas Day because the candles are blessed today. Now the Light itself comes to us as the candles are placed in our hands. Today at the 9.30 Mass our Confirmation students will assemble in the vestibule area of the Church and they will process into the Church with the lit candles. May God bless them as they prepare for Confirmation.
May that Light of Christ illuminate the darkness of our minds and hearts and may be lights to one another
On a less spiritual note we know that today is observed as Groundhog Day. It is the day when we wonder how much longer the winter will last. I am sure that this is in the minds of us all during this cold and snowy winter. Daily all of our parishioners are in my prayers as we face these hardships together.
Just has happened in your own families, our parish family has faced higher than usual expenses because of snow removal and heating. Your generosity will allow St. Paul’s to meet its operating expenses.
May I thank you for all of your goodness and I pray God will reward you.
Benedicat Virgo Maria!
In Jesus and Marry,
Monsignor James F. Pereda