I was going to leave the remaining poinsettias on the altar this morning, as today is the final day of the Christmas season. But yesterday, at the first Saturday Mass, Winifred Hunter arrived with the beautiful arrangement of flowers that you see instead. Please keep Winifred and her son Doran (who sent them from England) in your prayers.
Nonetheless, this is the last day of the Christmas season, and this feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple can be thought of as the last of the Epiphany events. Today we heard the narration of Mary and Joseph bring our Lord to the Temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Church as it existed prior to the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.
Due to the length of the blessing of the candles before Mass, I won't go on at any length about the blessing or the feast. But I do want you to be conscious of this transition we are making today in the liturgical year. For the rest of the year, the liturgy will put birth and the early years of our Lord behind us, and ask us to concentrate on the public life of our Lord. In two weeks we will begin the pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima, and in a few more weeks we will enter Lent. I would ask you to use this brief time period to prepare for making a really good Lent. This is the time to find some good spiritual reading, and to arrange you schedule so that you will be able to observe Lent both in your home life and here at church with your fellow parishioners.
I would ask you to remember the words in today's Gospel which describe the meeting of the old Simeon with the infant Savior. Think of the remaining days of the liturgical year as your own preparation -- both for the coming season of our redemption -- and ultimately, as preparation for your own dismissal from this life and entry into the next.