Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Talk about SUPER. We’ve got it all today, and it isn’t just happening in the “Bowl” of the Hard Rock Stadium. (Go Chiefs – waiting 50 years. I know how they feel.)

Groundhog Day finds folk in western Pennsylvania watching for Punxsutawney Phil. If he sees his shadow as he emerges from hibernation, we (they) have six more weeks of winter. No shadow means Spring is coming quicker. Seems like it should be the other way around. Go Figure.

Then there is Candlemas Day. This is when people traditionally bring candles to be blessed. The tradition is that it gives the folk light to face the remaining winter weeks.

Then, if that isn’t enough, tomorrow is the feast of St. Blaise, and we bless throats using the blessed candles to touch throats during the blessing.

Last, but not least, today is one of those rare days when a special feast takes the place of an ordinary Sunday.

The Presentation of the Lord is the moment when Jesus is dedicated to His mission. Today the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that His mission is to “destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life.”

When you look around at so many challenges to our daily lives, you might be tempted to wonder how well the mission to “destroy... the devil” actually went. Read a little closer. Jesus will destroy the power of death. He will destroy fear that keeps us in slavery.

That’s worth a moment’s pondering. What fears, concerns, disappointments, etc. have the effect of really slowing you down? How often are you distracted by those things, to the point that you don’t see needs around you, things that you could and would do something about if you’d noticed them?

You are in good company. Today Luke tells us that Simeon told Mary, “...and you yourself a sword will pierce.” She would walk with her Son on His journey, and like mothers do, suffer heartbreak at the moments when He is rejected by the very people He came to save.

Mary doesn’t turn in on herself in sadness. At the foot of the Cross (note, before the Resurrection), Mary takes on a new aspect of motherhood. She hears Jesus tell her to behold her son, John the Apostle standing next to her. John hears, “Behold your mother.” In that moment she becomes the mother of all the faithful, of us.

I’m sure she didn’t realize all that when she and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple. But when Simeon made his prediction of her coming stress and suffering, she didn’t run away. She “pondered” as some translations say. What a great word. Stop. Take a breath. Look up. See a bigger picture. Trust!

So, while Super Bowls and groundhogs, candles and blessings, occupy our day, the promise of the most important miracle of our faith-life becomes real. As the prophet Malachi told us today:

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.

I get a chill, or maybe better, a thrill, sitting here and thinking about what I’m writing. All that happened wraps around all of us, and we are transformed, invited, cherished by God. I can’t begin to imagine the thrill Simeon and Anna felt. Now, if I can live gratefully...

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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