The Presentation of the Lord
Today’s Feast of the Presentation echoes the great Advent and Christmas themes of waiting and fulfillment. In the Gospel, holy Simeon gives thanks that he has seen, at last, the promised "light of revelation for the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel."
We celebrate this Feast while still deep in winter. Spring is far off; this is the time when ‘cabin fever’ takes a deep hold! The message of today’s Feast and our seasonal impatience are meant for one another. Our world and our own ways of being make us impatient for the coming of good, for the arrival of beauty and warmth. In the realm of the spirit, however, it is hope-kindled patience that sets the pace.
Holy Simeon is lifted up as our guide and model. His patient waiting for the coming of the Light was fulfilled. His life captures the grand sweep of faith found in the Old Covenant: the Light will come for God has promised it. We can depend upon what God promises.
Life often places us in winter. Ill, we yearn for healing and release from anxiety, pain and discomfort. Grieving, we yearn for reconnection with loved ones and the stilling of the heart’s empty ache. Discouraged or doubtful, we become frantic for the electric spark of certainty and conviction. Darkened by sin, disappointment and hurt, our gloomy spirits search squint-eyed for the Light that brings renewal and healing.
In all these moments we can only wait in hope. Like the coming of Spring, God’s spirit gifts come gradually. Sunrise cannot be rushed nor the dawning of renewal, life, hope and joy. May holy Simeon quell our impatient anxiousness; like him, may we trust in the certainty of the Light’s rising.
Fr. Jim Thoman, C.P. is the director of St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan.