February 2, Presentation of the Lord. A day for blessing of candles, an old tradition. Of course everyone loves to carry a lit candle in a procession, even though some of the technicalities present problems.

The second antiphon for the procession is very evocative. here the bridal chamber is the inmost sanctuary of the Temple, which the community prepares to meet the groom, Christ the King. Mary is called “the gate of heaven,” for she carries the infant Jesus. She encourages the Church to make an announcement “to all the peoples.” This orients the feast toward evangelization and toward the whole world.

The gospel relates the presentation narrative from the gospel of Luke. The focus is on the speeches of Simeon and Anna announcing salvation. Another theme is the faithfulness of all present there to the covenant, acting according to the Law of Moses. The story follows Luke’s thematic pattern of reversal; here is this infant among many others no doubt being presented on any given day, but suddenly with this child, everything changes in the direction of their lives, accepting this surprising new thing from God.

So, we ask ourselves this question: in what way has Christ changed the direction of our own lives? Is the bridal chamber of our hearts prepared for such a groom as Christ? What does it mean the Mary is “the gate of heaven?”

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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