The Reception of the Lord in the Temple (Candlemas) – Part 24 February 2017
3. But while the Lord, in this manner, is presented as a “sign gainsaid” and “is set for the fall and rising of many”, depending on the attitude of each person, it remains a reality beyond all doubt that each one of us, will have to take a stand, once and for all, either for or against Christ. A lot of people imagine that it is possible to adopt an indifferent attitude, neither giving the Christian faith a warm welcome nor being hostile towards it. This is self-deception. Because the Lord said that “those who are not with me are against me (Matth. 12, 30). This so-called neutrality, which even in international affairs gives the impression of refusal and unwillingness to engage in common action and aid, is not a possibility in our relations with the Lord. Because those who wish to appear indifferent and neutral, are, in reality, opposed.
They are also guilty of being allies of evil, and are to be counted as belonging to the party that denies Christ and His will. Unfortunately, the greater part of the human race is neither hot nor cold. They’re lukewarm. And the Lord says that if you put something lukewarm into your mouth, it will make you sick (a phrase from the Revelation of the Lord, 3, 16), in order to tell us that He wants us to be fervent and devoted towards Him, with a real effort and desire to apply His teaching in our lives. If we are lukewarm, He does not consider that we are with Him. On the contrary, He holds that those who are lukewarm are, in reality, cold and allied to evil.
These are views, worthy of great attention, which arise from the prophecy of the righteous Symeon, spoken at the Reception of The Lord, which we celebrate today. May these thoughts be a start for each of us to recognize the attitude we have taken, or will take, as regards the Lord. And may this knowledge bring us to the firm decision to remain citizens and heirs of the Kingdom of God, unto the ages.(†) Metropolitan Nikodemos (Vallindras) of Patras, Εόρτια Μηνύματα, published by Apostoliki Diakonia.
There are a number of names for this feast in the West, including the Purification of the Virgin and the Presentation of Christ. The Greek name has a different emphasis. Of course, the occasion was the “churching” of the Mother of God, and, also the presentation of the new-born child. But the Greek word Υπαπαντή, means “an official welcome”. The sense is that Symeon goes out to meet the Lord and His mother, in a way that he would not have done otherwise, because someone very special is arriving. This is not to say that the other names are “wrong”, simply that the Greek adds another dimension, which may be of interest. WJL.