February 2nd marks the Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord, commonly known as Candlemass. It is rather interesting that this holy feast falls during the dead of winter when the days are at their coldest and, in some areas, their darkest.
Down here, the South Texas hinterland, usually warm and balmy, resembled the frozen northern tundra (sans the snow that should be falling tomorrow evening). At this evening's Mass, the darkness and chill certainly made their presence known.
Yet, despite the frigid temperatures and the fading light, tonight, we basked in the eternal warm glow of the True Light of God, the Light who physically entered His temple for the first time. In St. John's Gospel account, Jesus refers to himself as the Light. St. John, in his prologue, calls Jesus both the Word and the Light. While the Second Temple was certainly a marvelous edifice, according to both scriptural and historical accounts, it reached its zenith when the One for whom it was built finally entered. All of the readings point to this unique encounter. The temple lifted its portals to allow the true King of Israel, the Son of David, to enter its precincts. Solomon, David's son, had built the Temple, but, it was the Son of God, the true Davidic heir, who consecrated it with His presence.
Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI makes this point best. In today's homily for the Solemn Vespers of the Presentation of the Lord, the Holy Father said that:
Pope Benedict further explores the issue about light when he notes that: