February 1, 2020 – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020220.cfm)
Usually every Sunday some families gather together in the church not only to celebrate Eucharist but also to attend and witness the baptism of children to become new members of their respective family, parish and of the church. Yes, during Sundays, countless children are also being baptized in the church while being witnessed by their parents and family with relatives and friends. For us priest, Sunday children’s baptism is just part of our duty and extra job besides the hectic Sunday Masses schedules. For others, it might be a usual Sunday occurrence, but for the child’s respective parents, godparent and families, the baptism of their child can be, is and should be the defining moments of their own lives as well as of the child.
Yes, defining moments for all involved with the child. Because during baptism, the child does not only take on the identity and dignity of being Christian, the young parents of the child have suddenly grown up as well from just being two people in love to being parent to the child with a lot of responsibility for the future of the child. Along the parents, the child’s godparents, maninoy and maninay, extended families, relatives and friends also takes on the responsibility and mission to help and support in the growth in Christian faith and life of the child. It is indeed, defining moments for everybody for as the child is being consecrated, the parents, godparents, families and the Christian community and the Church is commissioned to be responsible caretakers and formators-parent of the Christian life and faith-growth of the child.
Mary and Joseph as well as Simeon and Anna must have experienced and felt the same during the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, same as young parents and families during child baptism. Here they are, presenting and consecrating the child Jesus in the temple as required by their Jewish religious tradition, conscious of the tasks, responsibility as well as the still-unknown and yet-to-be-revealed promise the child Jesus may offer to our lives. Joseph and Mary not only became the parent of the child Jesus, but through their testimony, Simeon and Anna also became the caretaker, formator & godparents of God’s light and glory for all. Same way as Joseph and Mary consecrated the child Jesus, Simeon and Anna became not anymore passive-expectators but now active-witnesses of God’s light and glory being revealed before them.
The Presentation of the Lord in the temple is indeed defining moments for Mary and Joseph as well as Simeon and Anna for they take on the responsibility before God for the child Jesus. In the same manner, the baptism of a child is the defining moments for the young parents, godparents, families and the whole church for we all take responsibility for the formation and growth of the faith and life of the child.
Our celebration today of the Presentation of the Lord is more than just about having our candles blessed. It is actually more so about ourselves as Christian especially during our celebration of Sacrament of Baptism. When we were baptized as a child, like the child Jesus, we were presented and consecrated (made holy) to God by our Christian family and the church to be God’s children. And whenever we attend and witness child baptism, we make holy ourselves to be responsible parents and formators-witnesses for the faith-growth of the child.
Today’s celebration and our celebration of children’s baptism are all a reminder that each and every one of us, baptized Christians are lighted candles, taking on the light of Christ, the Christian dignity and responsibility for the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation in our lives forever in our children now and for the future Christian generation.
Taking on the dignity and mission to be parents and witnesses of God’s salvation as revealed to us always through Jesus and our today’s Christian children are and remain to be our defining moments as Christians. God is already doing his part for our salvation by revealing us his glory through his Son, now we have to do our part by making and remaining true to our defining moments of becoming blessed lighted candles – taking part to be active parents and witnesses for the growth of the Christian life and faith of our baptized children.
Now, when was the last time you become a witness to a Child’s baptism? When was the last time you light a candle publicly and privately? Be reminded Jesus said: “You are the light of the world”.
May we, as today God’s lighted and blessed candle, be always responsible parents and witnesses of God’s light to our world now and forever. Amen.
Homily shared by Fr. Mar Masangcay, CSsR – A Filipino Redemptorist based in South Korea.