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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Gospel Reflections for January 29

Besides her great privilege of being the Mother of God, Mary was also her Son’s first disciple. She is often called the Model, or Exemplar of the Church. Following her example, we walk with her through the Gospels as we reflect on her response to God in her life.

January 29, 2017 —The Presentation of the Lord

Luke 2:22-40
 Father Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.

A family was visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. The children were curious about the votive-candles, so mom asked if they’d each like to light one. She told them to ask God for something when lighting the candle.  “Do you have any questions?” she asked.  “No,” said the five-year-old, “But if there’s a pony on the steps outside, it’s mine.”

Candles are important in Catholicism. Today’s Feast of Christ’s Presentation in the Temple has long been associated with candles, and another name for the celebration is Candlemas Day. In the Gospel, the old man Simeon thanks God because he has seen the Savior, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” In many parishes, people process with lit candles into the church, just as Mary and Joseph processed into the Temple with Jesus.

In his public life Jesus said: “I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus is our Light.

That’s why candles are important. At Mass candles on the altar symbolize the light of Christ. The Easter candle proclaims that Christ rose from the darkness of the grave. Votive candles express our desire to pray always. Here in the Miraculous Medal Shrine, thousands of Votive Lights symbolize the prayers of our members.

Jesus also said, “You are the light of the world.... Let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14,16). At baptisms a candle is lit from the Easter candle and given to the one baptized. Christ is our Light, and we must share the light of his love with others.

In the Fourth Joyful Mystery, we meditate on the Presentation and consider its many meanings. We should also consider how Mary, our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, showers down the rays of Christ’s grace to enlighten us and help us share his light. The five-year-old might have wanted a pony. We want the Light of Christ!

Read last week's reflection.