- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Homily for February 2, 2021 – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

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

In 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples. In the light of these candles may we meet the Lord and recognize his voice in the Words we hear. May we embrace Him in the Sacrament we receive.

Saint Luke related how Simeon and Anna came to the Temple. They worshiped God with prayer and fasting because they awaited the consolation of Israel. Enlightened by the Spirit, they recognized the Lord when his parents brought him to the Temple in fulfillment of the Law. This image of men and women awaiting the consolation of the People of God is captured in the Constitutions of our Order:

C. 2 The Nature and Purpose of the Order
This Order is a monastic institute wholly ordered to contemplation. The monks dedicate themselves to the worship of God in a hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of St Benedict. They lead a monastic way of life in solitude and silence, in assiduous prayer and joyful penitence as defined in these Constitutions, thus rendering to the divine majesty a service that is at once humble and noble.

My brothers, you, and I are here because we have responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Because we fell in love with Jesus, we saw in him the one thing that mattered and left the rest behind. We have committed ourselves to one another, allowing God to build up the Church of Genesee, where God can meet his believing people. Like Simeon, we have been gifted to see the light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel. Enlightened by the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives together are so ordered as to proclaim his presence in our midst. God who is light from light has called us to be a light for others, so that the people who walk in darkness may come to know the LIGHT OF GLORY. Knowing how to see grace is the starting point.

Upon the face of the little child cradled in Simeon’s arms shined the light of the Father’s glory. I suggest you ponder these words taken from the prophet Isaiah. ” I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I’” (Is. 65:1). The Lord of Light stands at the door and knocks. The doors of the heart are to be opened to him, who is the rightful owner. Here is a price paid, enough for all, and suitable to all, for it was in our nature. Here the wonderful love of God appeared, that, when Christ knew what he must suffer in our nature, and how he must die in it, yet he readily took it upon him. Like Simeon, we are called to testify that this Child is the Savior of the world, the salvation of God’s appointing. Today, on the feast day of encounter, we ask for the grace to rediscover the living Lord amid a believing people. In the temple, Jesus comes to meet us, and we go to meet him. He offers us his word, which illuminates our path; he gives us the Bread of life which sustains us on our journey.

“Now Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for All people to see. A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel” (Lk.2:29-32).