Candle Mass

Once upon a time, someone wrote this: The pessimist sees no light in the tunnel. The optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel. The realist sees that the light is a train. The train driver sees only three fools on the track.

Today, God wants us to SEE the light so that we can BE light.

Our examples today are the prophets Malachi and Simeon, and, the prophetess, Anna.

The time is four hundred years before the Christ.  The people return from Persia.  They rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.  Now they need someone to guide them spiritually.  At the temple, some of the priests offer lame and blind animals and try to pass them off as worthy sacrifices.  Malachi chastises them.  In the town square the people question God’s justice and some even doubt his presence.  Malachi confronts them.  That is why the prophet says to his fellow countrymen and women:  If the Lord comes to us right now in the flesh who can stand up in righteousness?

God wants us to SEE the light so that we can BE light.

Simeon and Anna spend most of their years at the temple in prayer.  They await the coming of the Messiah, the Christ.  Then, forty days after the birth of Jesus, the encounter takes place in the temple of Jerusalem.  Simeon takes the child from his mother.  He blesses God and prophesizes:  The Christ will be a light to disclose the truth to the Gentiles.  He will be glory for Israel.  Then Anna joins Simeon and gives thanks to God.

God wants us to SEE the light so that we can BE light.

How?  We can begin by being joyful.  How Simeon and Anna rejoice at the sight of the Christ of the Lord.  And we can continue this joy by giving thanks to God every day.  The Benedictine, Blessed Abbot Marmion says, “Joy is the echo of God’s life in us.”

We can also SEE and BE light by guiding each other spiritually.  The letter to the Hebrews today has a fascinating line that says since Jesus himself was tested through suffering, he is able to help those who are tested.   Sometimes it takes only a smile to help someone.  Other times a good word or a warm embrace.  Maybe someone needs a little tough love with compassion and support.  Another needs a prayer, and another needs the sacraments.  God does not help angels- they do not need it.  God helps human beings.  That is why God takes on flesh.

May the light of Christ from the Eucharist fill our hearts this Candlemas Day so that we can SEE the light and BE the light for the world.

         The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.

2014

Hanukkah

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