Reflection Saturday Week 3 Year C (Presentation of the Lord and World Day of Consecrated Life)- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Hebrews Malachi 3:1-4; Ps 24:7-10; Heb 2:14-18 and Luke 2:22-40
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. It reminds us that Christ is the Son of God, the first born, the heir and higher than the angels. He is the messiah, human and divine and of course the light of the world; the savior of the world, who conquers our fears, particularly that of death.
This morning I received the sad news the passing on of two priests who not only had presented themselves for years of services in the Lord’ vineyard, but touched my life too, on my personal journey to consecrate myself in the service of the Lord as they did. One of them is Rt. Rev. Msgr. S.T. Umoh who was my one time vocation director, the other Fr. C. C. Ndonduok, one time Parish priests of mine. May they rest in perfect peace, in Christ Jesus?
My consolation (and I believe that of their families and the church as a whole), is that, that preparation for the Lord long foretold by Malachi in today’s first reading has been fulfilled in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ whose feast we celebrate today- presentation of Christ. We rejoice with Mary, Joseph, Anna and Simeon because our eyes have seen the salvation and our ears continue to hear this message of hope and salvation daily, and sometimes in mysterious ways.
The Letter to the Hebrews puts to us this message of hope well in the second reading. Even in the face of death or loosing a loved one, Jesus has final power over death and the devil of fear. He is the life, death and the resurrection. He demonstrates this by overcoming temptations in the desert. Moreover, after his presentation, baptism, and through out the course of his ministry he taught us on every step of the way, to be courageous, to overcome fear with courage and love. Courage and love took him to the cross, as a merciful priest, faithful and humble victim!
Symbolically, the candle we carry today in processesion is a candle of hope and love; a universal love for peoples of all walks of life, culture, race and nations; a light for Israel and a Light for the Gentiles; the opposite of darkness of sins and evil. It is a light of hope no matter what our daily challenges and fears may look like.
May we encourage one another today; May we continue to be that conduit and channel of Christ’s light to our neighbors, especially the poor, the depressed, the sorrowful and those who have recently lost their loved ones, including those who had consecrated themselves in one way or the other to the service of the Lord and Humanity.