1 February 2020
By Stefania Caterina and Fr Tomislav Vlašić
Father Tomislav: Dearest Brothers and Sisters; today we celebrate the feast of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. This feast links the Christmas time with the Easter time. Before the council Christmas used to last until this feast. Regardless of the liturgy this feast connects Christmas and Easter because in Jesus’ presentation in the temple the light of the redemption already appears.
What we received during the Christmas time is very important for us. We want the light that has lit up within us to increase more and more with the beginning of this celebration. We have consecrated this year to the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of God may act powerfully in us to enlighten our life, our past, our future and make us children of light for the whole Earth and for the whole Universe.
So, today we will light our candles together. It looks like a torchlight procession, but we see it as one that lights up the path towards the glorious coming of Christ; the path that leads to the new creation, which has the task of uniting all peoples throughout the Universe into a single Church living in Christ, which enlightens every mystery; or rather, let us ask the Triune God to enlighten all the mysteries within us and among us.
This torchlight procession, let’s call it like that, tells us a lot in today’s readings. The prophet Malachi, with strong expressions and with fear, proclaims the day of the Lord, the day of his glorious manifestation. The prophet asks: “Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.”
Moreover, in the Gospel we hear about Simeon and Anna who were enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures identify them as righteous people who were waiting for salvation; Simeon becomes ready for the mystery of death which does not scare him anymore: “’Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.’”
Let us return to Malachi: “For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” God touches every man with His love, even Lucifer. The demons believe in the existence of God but they fear Him. Mediocre Christians are easily pleased about a gift – every gift is grace and perceived as rewarding – but then withdraw into themselves. But God’s presence is like “a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap”, and every grace, when accepted, leads to the transformation to a new creature; however, the person must be ready for this renewal and accept to abandon what is old. After original sin, man withdrew into death and ill behaviour, because without God he is too weak to cope with life. Those who did not believe in and accept God, and thus sought refuge with Lucifer were deceived and are now without hope.
After original sin, the collective sin of humanity throughout history, there is a tendency to hide in death. Why? Because it is easier to be corrupt than virtuous. Have you experienced this? Being corrupt doesn’t cost anything, but the price of being free and living as new creatures is dying to oneself, dying to the sin that left a trace within us.
And this is the fundamental step for the Church of Jesus Christ of the whole Universe: to defeat death within oneself and choose life, eternal life, the life of the new creation; this path is traced in the first Church, the history of the saints and the righteous; in the Church that has remained faithful to Jesus Christ and is reopening in these times with all the Trinitarian power.
Let us therefore reflect on the celebration of the presentation of Jesus in the temple in this way. Jesus was not alone; He was presented by the first Church: Mary, Saint Joseph and Jesus among them; thus, the first cell of the Church of Jesus Christ was born; it is good to remember this because we do not take refuge in a Church made of superstructures, but in a Church immersed in the Spirit of God and guided by the Trinitarian action.
St. Joseph was entrusted with the task to give the Son of God the name of “Jesus” by which He was defined as “the Saviour”, because the name was also one’s definition. Mary accepted to generate the Son of God, but already at the moment of Jesus’ presentation Her whole path of life opened up before Her. The words of the prophet Simeon are very clear: “’This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’”
The bond between the Mother and the Son is very strong from the moment of conception; the Mother, who by nature desires a child, offers Him to the Lord as the firstborn. Mary consciously offers Her Son along with the whole passage from the maternal union with Him to the suffering at the foot of the Cross. She shows us how to be faithful and look beyond things. In this context we may also see the assumption of the Mother to enter the new creation.
The new people, the Church of Jesus Christ of the whole Universe must see that this is the path to defeat death within them. Hiding in death, in the sickness that every sin produces, distances us from the Source of life. The Church of Jesus Christ of the whole Universe is aware of it. Even those who have remained faithful to God in the high universe expect this awareness from the Church of Jesus on Earth which belongs to the Church of the Universe. Divine light enlightens each of us and Mary enlightens the whole Church which continues the journey with Jesus, following Him to all sanctuaries, even pagan ones, even where there is only one lost sheep that Jesus seeks and for whom He offers Himself.
The liberation from the power of death is explained in the letter to the Hebrews: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
But after original sin, as I said, man hid in death, in fear. Yet, how can we free ourselves, what is the way to free ourselves from the fear of death? The way is this, that we receive Jesus Christ within us, the Trinitarian power in the Holy Spirit, to be embraced by the love of God through Jesus Christ who looks beyond our sins and our unfaithfulness, changing us radically and healing us inwardly. However our complete healing reaches the highest point in our generous love, similar to that of Christ and Mary, which consists in the total offering of ourselves to save all, to the last man lost in the spirit of the world. There is no other way. The fruit of pure love will come from our devotion to God’s love, which will mature us and enable us to give that love to others.
Therefore, what we have received in the past years gives us clarity and certainty. Our Lady explained to us that She conceives us and all those who said “yes” at the moment of conception in Her Immaculate Heart. She pours Her Immaculateness on us. Evil slips away, it bounces off those who are in Her Immaculate Heart.
This is the central point of all that we have said about the ordinary instrument “Foundation of the Immaculate” and the portal “Mary’s Face” in Medjugorje, which has still not been fully understood. There, too, many men and women like Simeon and Anna have arrived. They received a little bit of enlightenment and then left. Yet, Our Lady has explained that She has come to lead everyone to the reunification with Christ, to generate a new people, a new Church, renewed according to Jesus’ initial wish. Many excuses are found which only lead to darkness, but the darkness deceives man, and thus Mary Most Holy in Medjugorje has neither been recognized nor welcomed. She has not even been recognized like certain saints, because the saints performed many miracles. However, Our Lady led the people to the greatest miracle of all: a New Life.
Many theologians think that Mary is an obstacle for Christ, but without the passage through the Immaculate Mother there is no Church. Without the children who pass through the Immaculate Mother there is no Church; there is no life in Christ. Our Lady has been given to us to accompany us in all trials until the moment of death, and She has promised us: “When the moment comes for you to pass to eternity, I will come to pick you up”.
We cannot look at, we cannot withstand the face of God if we hide behind the fear of death. We are weak and that fear makes us miss the grace to be transformed. We have been explained that the only sign of the new people, of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Universe, are the members who let themselves be transformed. This is the living Eucharist. If we understand this passage, we will understand how the Trinitarian power, which generates life, can begin to act through the Church of the Universe; because when we pass on the life of the Triune God we are the Church that generates life and touches the wounds of the sick humanity, healing and transforming it.
Therefore, we see that after this solemnity our path will unfold in the Holy Spirit for the whole year. May He enlighten all biblical themes of the history of the Church, of our life, so that we may distinguish between good and evil, following the path of this torchlight procession which leads us to abandon the old creation, the old creature, to enter the new creation with Mary, through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.
The path in the Holy Spirit is the only path; there unfolds the healing of humanity, the action of the Archangels, the mission of the faithful brothers and sister who need the offering of our life. Just as they open the passage for us, by God’s grace, we on Earth have the task to open the passage for them; for justice, because the Earth is the heritage of the new creation.
Thus, today we invoke the Holy Spirit that He may enlighten our hearts and we may sing: “I am ready to leave everything and to go where You take me.” May that light give us the courage to distinguish between good and evil in the Church and on Earth. In this time everyone will be enlightened except Hell because it is closed in on itself; except the corrupt who will withdraw into themselves, refusing to step into the light to ask for forgiveness and to unite with the sacrifice of Christ.
I bless you; may this blessing accompany you; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
 See First Reading Mal 3,1-4; Second Reading Heb 2,14-18; Gospel Luke 2,22-40