Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A personal reflection on Candlemas

Thinking about Candlemas it occurs to me that we can understand this feast as being the third disclosure of Our Lord to the world.

If Christmas is His birth and revelation to the Jewish people, represented by the shepherds - as well as the rejection implicit in Herod's seeking to destroy the King of the Jews -, and Epiphany is His revelation to the Gentiles symbolised by the Magi - and its associated commemorations of the Baptism and the miracle at Cana disclosing His Divine commission and power at the start of His active ministry - then Candlemas is the revelation of Christ to God's people - Jew or Gentile - in the Temple, be it the old one of Jerusalem or the new one that is His Body, the Church.

In all three disclosures Our Lady is there as physical mother, as representitive of faithful Judaism, as proto-Church and as Mother of the Church.

So Candlemas is not just the end of the Christmas season, but a vital point of proclaiming the status of the Divine Infant to His world. In St Luke the next time we encounter Our Lord He is back in the Temple, about His father's business. That is where we will find him.

Maybe I should start writing sermons...

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