RCL The Presentation
Malachi 3:1-4, Psalm 84; Hebrews 2:14-18; Saint Luke 2:22-40

In the Gospel according to Saint John, Jesus declares: “I am the light of the world.”[1] Jesus as light and light as Jesus are a metaphor running throughout the Scriptures and consequently throughout Christian liturgy. To see that this is so, you have only to look at the Gospel, when old Simeon takes the Christ-child in his arms and proclaims him to be: “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.”[2]

Today is one of those days when that metaphor comes before our eyes so strikingly that we have little choice but to begin to absorb it and graft it in our hearts and in our prayers. The metaphor leads us to see that the light that enlightens each of us is Christ. The light by which we choose the good and refuse the evil is Christ. The light by which we wade through a world of gray areas and difficult circumstances is Christ. The light by which we see our duty and our responsibility and do them is Christ. The light by which we persevere in the Christian life is Christ.

All of this is so, the metaphor is reality, because God made it so, and made it so in order that we might find our way to him. So that we would have the light we need to find our way to him. Following the light of the world leads to God, the world’s true light.

And we see that light reflected in two lives, the lives of old Simeon and Anna. Simeon, we are told, “was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.”[3] Anna “never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.”[4] Simeon and Anna urgently yearn for right to prevail. And if that is true of you, as it is of me, this Feast is for you. For we can see in Simeon and Anna the reflection of the light of the world. They recognize the light for the right it is. In their own ways, Simeon and Anna understand and proclaim that God’s ways will prevail. At the end of their lives Simeon and Anna see that God’s ways have already prevailed. And who among us does not urgently yearn to see God’s ways prevail? What they see and experience first hand is this. They see the light which is the right carry with it the might to prevail. Their deepest yearning has been satisfied by the Presentation of that baby in the Temple. Their lives are fulfilled in every possible way. There is nothing left for them to see or to do. Their faith and their devotion give them the meaning and the purpose lacking in so many lives. You might think they had fully appropriated Psalm 84: “O Lord of hosts: happy are they who put their trust in you.”[5]

[1] Saint John 8:12.

[2] Saint Luke 2:32.

[3] Saint Luke 2:25.

[4] Saint Luke 2:37.

[5] Psalm 84:12.