“As we see in the gospel today, the Word, which spoke the world into existence, comes to the Temple. And how is he brought? Carried on a throne of gold? With all the nations gathered around to honor him? No, but in the throne of the Virgin’s arms. . . And what glory did await at the temple? Did Caesar himself stand up for the True King as he entered? Did the powerful people of all the nations come to honor him, and declare him the True Lord of Lords? No, he is greeted by a man who is only said to be a righteous and devout man. And by a woman, who is said to be a prophet, and who seems to have been a widow who spent her time in prayer in the temple.”
“There were no kings and queens of the world greeting the Christ as he came to the Temple. What we see here, is a secret: that the kings and queens are the poor of heart. They are those awaiting salvation. They are the widows, they are the righteous ones. Their glory is veiled now, but they are the ones that are truly honored. The King has come to see them, not the Temple, but the his faithful people who look for him for his salvation.”
“And yet, even on this great feast of light, we are reminded of the dusk to come. The darkness that looms, threatening to extinguish the light. . . Even with the eternal light that has come into the world, the darkness of this world must be endured. Neither God nor the church ignores or avoids suffering. Christ answers our own sufferings and pains and death by taking part in them, redeeming them, and overcoming them. But, they still had to be endured, and we here still suffer often. This is one reason why the readings of this season always carry in their light a tint of shadow.
But the Church in defiance of this darkness lifts up the Light. That is why the Nunc Dimittis, the Song of Light, is chanted at night. We carry Christ’s light even into our sleep where his angels and mercy surround us. And this is why this day is called Candlemas, and is the end of the Season of Light. The Light is being passed on, and we are receiving it. The Light has returned to the Temple, which is now the Church, and the Light again shines in the darkness.”
“At your baptism we pass you a candle and say “Receive the Light of Christ.” You are part of Christ’s body. You know of God’s Word and Gospel. His acts and love. Each of you could tell us how God has shown himself to you, and how he has worked in your life. I could go even further and say that I see his light shining upon you. That you are now Christ to me. You are a Christ bearer. Hear the Gospel: you are the manifestation of God’s eternal light to this earthly world.”
“When I look around, I see lights. I see good people striving to do right. People striving to create holy families like the Holy Family we are speaking about today. And I am not only speaking of husbands and wives, but of all those seeking to live honorable lives in service and love toward your neighbor, all those seeking to live an abundant life of fulfilled humanity. Do not be overcome with despair in the Lent ahead, or in the Lents of your life, darkness has been overcome.
And so may your husband be God’s tender care to you, and may your wife be God’s generosity and kindness. May your friends be God’s balm to your soul, and all who love you and whom you love, may they be the heart of God.”
“I am going to do something at my house, and maybe some of you can join me. I am going to take this candle from Candlemas and put it on our prayer stand at my house so that I can light it for prayer times during Lent. This will remind me of something important: that even through the darkness of Lent the eternal Light of Christ still shines. Let us as a Church carry the lights of Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas with us, as we travel united and together through the night ahead. Amen.”
Excerpts are from Dcn. Isaac Chavez’s Candlemas Sermon
Photographer: Jacqueline Teachey
And, here is also a link to a short family Candlemas liturgy: