Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Candlemas 2 February 2018

My Friends,

Welcome to my blog on the feast of Candlemass , Friday 2 February 2018. We know that the Jewish people were accustomed to circumcise a child after eight days and then to dedicate it to the Lord on the 40th day. It is now 40 days since Christmas. Mary and Joseph bring their child Jesus to the temple. But Jesus came also in this way amongst the people. And amongst the people there turned out to be men and women, who were open to God, without the angels coming down from heaven and without a star leading them, they were able to recognize the Son of God in this little child. It was the Holy Spirit, who gave them an insight in something special they had been longing for for years: Who is this Saviour?We have come to Mass to meet God. May we also be enlightened Let us light our candles, a symbol of Jesus, who says that He is the Light of the world, a symbol of the Holy Spirit. When we process through the Church, we do want to ask God that the Light of the Holy Spirit may spread over all the earth, so that all darkness disappears.

 My friends, we may thank our heavenly Father for the fact that there are believers such as Simeon and Hanna. Their life of prayer and good works should encourage us to ask God, if we may live like that. That our hearts may be steadfastly focussed on God. Then many good things will come about, if we we - without losing our family and fellow human beings out of sight, continue to be focussed on God. We need to grow into this, but first we must desire to be like this.

God , our Father, was an instrument in the growth of a solid hope for the ransom of Israel for Simeon and Hanna. They were driven by that hope in the course of their lives. Althouh they and their people were prosecuted  by the Romans they had never ceased to believe, that they were to come face to face with their Redeemer. Let us ask God for a heart full of hope, not only for ourselves but for others. We do know that our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ has in principle overcome the darkness of this world. Our heavenly Father has the last word.  How then will our life really change and become filled with joy, if we can manage to wait with prayers and works for the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ, because then there shall be no more tears.

It was really the same Holy Spirit, which filled Simeon and Hanna, as the One we receive through Baptism and Confirmation. Because Simeon was willing to listen, the Holy Spirit trusted him to see great things, that he would not die before he had met the Redeemer. You and I have been anointed with the Holy Spirit through Baptism and Confirmation.  Simeon and Hanna met God in the temple.
We may also meet our God in Church this morning. But in our case God looks at how strong our desire really is. If our desire is big and fiery , we will receive a lot.  Every day baby's were brought into the temple in order to be dedicated to God. Through the work of the Holy Spirit Simeon and Hanna recognized Jesus as being the Son of God. Fortunately Simeon and Hanna did not rely on their own expectations to how the Messiah was going to look like, because it was through this  that they could recognize the child of two humble parents as the Son of God.We too have to learn to see the hand of God in all people and in all situations of our lives. If we see things the same way as the Holy Spirit does, then we can recognize the Son of God in the bread of the Eucharist. 

The Lord God gave Simeon and Hanna the gift of prophesy. Hanny spoke to all about the Child, to all who lived in expectation of the redemption of Jerusalem. Their words will be remembered eternally. Would it not be wonderful if we could speak in a prophetic voice?We are able to speak about the love of God in a clear and concise manner. Jesus is and was a Light for many people. We can take over this light and we may let it shine over all people. May we ask God to helps us, so that this little candle light in our heart may increase to be a big fire. The world needs people who can show forth love in a strong manner. Are you and I called to let our light shine in the darkness of this world?

Father Ed Bakker,
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne

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