Today we celebrate the Feast of The Presentation in the Temple. I think it’s a lovely Feast Day that sees a young couple responding to tradition whereby their forty day old baby is presented to The Lord. When in Hounduras towards the end of last year with Trocaire, I witnessed something of this at a Sunday Mass when a young couple presented their baby at the Offertory of the Mass and the priest received the baby into his arms, turned towards the Altar and raised the baby on high. The congregation applauded the moment and the parents beamed with happiness. Later we were told the baby was forty days old and that this is tradition too for families there.
We bless candles in the churches today. These will be used in our churches during the coming year. People bring candles for blessing too. Some they leave in the church for use there and others they bring home so that there will be “blessed” candles in their homes. Again a lovely tradition.
One of the things I like about this Feast Day is the coming together of generations for that is very much at the heart of the Gospel account. The baby carried by Joseph and Mary, a young couple, are approached by Simeon and Anna, two of the oldest people in the Temple at that moment and a conversation begins. It is a conversation rooted in faith for the old man, Simeon, had been told he’d not die without laying his eyes on “The Christ”. He knew his moment had come and felt drawn to this little family grouping. So too, Anna, who at the age of eighty-four spent all her waking hours in the Temple at prayer. It’s lovely the way they can blend as one around Christ. It always strikes me that the church on any given Sunday is a place where the generations meet under one roof to be together, gathered in faith.
Yesterday we had something of this in our schools when grandparents came along to spend time with their children’s children during Catholic Schools Week. Again, a lovely and memorable moment for all.
Today we value the generations, respect them, learn from them and, in all that, seek to come to know and recognise Christ.