Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, or Candlemas as it used to be called. I am reading Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars. There is a long passage about the extraordinarily large role played but Candlemas in the life of the community. There were, for instance great parades of people carrying candles to illustrate the words of Jesus.
Now master, you can let your servant go in peace. Just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all nations to see. A light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel. (Luke 2:22-40)
To me this is one of the most beautiful parts of the whole Gospel. One can picture it in our mind, the old man, his eyes lighting up, the majestic poetry which he utters. What a contrast to the reading of the day before. Perhaps it is supposed to be.