Candlemas 2.2.14 Luke 2.22-40

27 01 2014

Following Customs

This famous and lengthy reading has the feel of a deep spiritual saga.  The feast of ‘Candlemas’ closes the Christmas season but points to the whole life-span of a child of God.


To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

1. Why does Luke describe this customary event at such length?

2. Who is the main character in the story?

3. What does this passage say about the religion/spirituality distinction which matters so much to many people today?

Heart Questions

1. Which aspect of this story draws you in most profoundly?

2. How would you describe Simeon’s attitude?

3. How do you feel about verse 35?

Hand Questions

1. Are Mary and Joseph good parents?  Explain your answer.

2. What does this passage teach you about the dignity of waiting and the spirituality of keeping vigil?

3. What do we learn about the human life cycle – both growth and ageing – from this passage?


These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you. That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands. Take your time.



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