At first, this celebration may seem rather strange and out of sequence. We have long taken down the Christmas decorations and put away all the manger scenes. And we have been celebrating Ordinary Time in the Liturgy during which the adult Jesus has been baptized, begun his public ministry and called his first disciples. However, today’s Feast of Jesus in the temple takes us back to Jewish customs and tradition. Mosaic Law set a time of 40 days of purification after the birth of a male child—and today is 40 days, inclusive, after Christmas. Simeon and Anna who were just and pious people were present in the Temple at that time. Together they represent all who ever longed for the coming of the Messiah and for the redemption of humanity. Simeon holds the child in his arms and cries out that this child is the revelation of God’s glory. He is the very gift to us, long promised in the Scriptures. Furthermore, he is the true light and hope for all of humanity. From this prophecy of Simeon, we continue the centuries-old custom of blessing and lighting candles today in remembrance of Christ who is our light!
Next weekend we begin to focus on the Annual Catholic Appeal— “Gratitude in Action”. The goal for this year’s Diocesan appeal is $3,500,000. Every parish will participate in order to financially support many of the major programs of Christian outreach in the Diocese: Catholic Schools, Formation in Faith, Catholic Charities and Clergy and Seminarian support. The goal set for our parish is $77,500. As in past years, all the money we raise over our parish goal will be sent back to us for our own parish needs! Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Just a word about music in our liturgies. St. Augustine once said: “The one who sings, prays twice!” I would like to encourage us all with the words of St. Paul in his Letter to the Colossians: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Col. 3:16) Please sing in the Liturgy! In particular, I am encouraging those who sing well to please consider joining the Parish Choir which sings on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Just imagine the joyful sound we can make with more energetic voices joined in one chorus! For more information about this very rewarding ministry, please contact Mr. Kerey Quaid, our Music Director, right away!