The old priest Simeon holds the Infant in his arms and recognises him. Overflowing with joy he sings the Nunc Dimittis, for now God has fulfilled his promise and the Light has come into the world.
We mark this feast with the blessing and lighting of candles, to remind ourselves that Christ is the light of the world, that he casts out the darkness, and now we his disciples are called to take that same light and carry it to every corner of the world.
It is interesting to note that the Paschal Candle is lit over us twice in our lives - at our baptism when we come into the Church, it is burning beside the baptismal font and after we come out of the waters our own baptismal candle is lit from it. The second time is at our funeral, when our lifeless bodies lie before the altar as the Requiem Mass is offered for us. Between these two occasions the light of that Paschal Candle is supposed to burn within us as we live our Christian lives. The candles we carry in procession at today's Mass symbolise then, not just Christ who enlightens us and the world, but that same light burning within us, lit by God, which urges out into the world as witnesses and evangelisers.
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