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Sunday, February 2, 2003

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Presentation of the Lord

Malachi 3:1-4
Hebrews 2:14-18
Psalm 24
Luke 2:22-40

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are you prepared to die?

"When the day came to purify them according to the law of Moses, the couple brought Him up to Jerusalem so that He could be presented to the Lord." —Luke 2:22

This feast day used to be called the Purification of Mary. It is also called Candlemas, because candles are blessed at Mass on this day. In the Western world, this feast is called the Presentation of the Lord. In the Byzantine tradition of the Eastern world, this feast is called the Encounter (Catechism, 529).

The many names for today's feast day indicate that the Lord through His Church is revealing many truths to us today. One of today's themes is death. When Simeon saw Jesus, He exclaimed that he could now die (Lk 2:29). We can be unafraid of death because Jesus by His death destroyed death of its power "and (freed) those who through fear of death had been slaves their whole life long" (Heb 2:15).

Those who have encountered Jesus know that He is the Resurrection and the Life (Jn 11:25) and that He will keep His promise to raise us from the dead. Those purified and single-hearted for the Lord have His promise that they will see Him forever in heaven (see Mt 5:8). Those who have presented themselves to the Lord in Baptism are baptized into Christ and His death (Rm 6:3) and will be united with Him in the resurrection (Rm 6:5). Finally, we, the light of the world (Mt 5:14), are like candles, being consumed and dying in order to give the light of Christ to the world.

On this great feast day, let us decide to accept Jesus as Lord of our life and death.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to prepare me for death.

Promise:  "He will sit refining and purifying [silver], and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord." —Mal 3:3

Praise:  Praise Jesus, the risen and revealing Light to the nations! (see Lk 2:32)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 1, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 7, 2002