On Tuesday, the Church celebrates the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is also the feast of Our Lord’s Presentation in the Temple. On February 2, Jesus is 40 days old and leaves Bethlehem with His Mother and foster-father to go to the Temple. Thus, this is the traditional conclusion of the Christmas season because the Holy Family no longer rests in Bethlehem.
Jesus and Mary have no need to fulfill the Law for, being sinless, they are not subject to it. Our Lady has no need for purification since her conception of Jesus and giving Him birth were wholly miraculous and divine. Jesus has
no need to be redeemed by two turtle doves or two small pigeons; He is the Author of the Law and the Redeemer of the world. His Blood will more than suffice to redeem all those born of women! With great humility, Jesus and Mary fulfill the Law in order to give us the example of obedience to God in all things and in order to free us from the same Law.
Our Lord is received in the Temple by the expectant faith of St. Simeon and St. Anna the Prophetess. He is proclaimed by Simeon as the “Light” of the nations. He illumines the Temple and the world with His Divine and Saving Light, which permeates His Sacred Humanity. Therefore, February 2 is a festival of light: candles are blessed and carried in solemn procession and the day is even called “Candlemas!”
As we conclude Christmas on Tuesday, let us make sure that we receive the Light into our hearts. Let us make sure to follow the example of Simeon and Anna in receiving Him. Our Christmas will be fruitful only if we continue to carry the Light of the World within us through grace!
Fr. Joseph Previtali