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Showing posts from February 2, 2016

A Reflection on Candlemas

The Encounter between Chaos and Light
In everyday modern life we are hardly aware that on February 2nd we celebrate an ancient feast, common to the Church of both East and West, one which used to have a great significance in the rural calendar: Candlemas. Tributaries from many historical sources have flowed together into this feast, with the result that it sparkles with many colors. Its immediate reference is to the event when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to perform the prescribed sacrifice of purification.
The liturgy focuses mainly on one detail of Luke’s portrayal: the meeting between the Child Jesus and the aged Simeon. Thus in the Greek-speaking world the feast was called Hypapanti (the encounter). In this juxtaposition of the Child and the old man, the Church sees the encounter between the passing heathen world and the new beginning in Christ, between the fading age of the Old Covenant and the new era of the Church of all nati…