Luke 2: 22-40
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her the inner thoughts of many husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.
At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Today we travel with Jesus and Mary and Joseph to the temple in Jerusalem as they celebrate the Jewish rite for the purification of new mothers and the presentation of their newborn child to God. They purchase two turtle doves and seek out the priest. The temple is quite busy today and they worry about getting lost in the crowd.
As they approach the priest for the blessing, Mary and Joseph meet Simeon and Anna. These faith-filled senior citizens offer prayer and prophetic words. Mary and Joseph are brought up short by what Simeon says; they wonder anew just what this child of theirs is all about. What exactly does it mean that this newborn son will be “a revealing light for the Gentiles and the glory of Israel”; that he will be a “sign of opposition for the rise and downfall of many in Israel.”
So what does this feast say to us many centuries later? First, Jesus is “light.” So how is God trying to turn us towards the light of Jesus, using us as bearers of light and life—especially for those who are dear to us, those who count on us, those whose lives we affect each day?
Further, as we stand in the temple of our hearts this day, let us ask Jesus to help us face the light, to say “yes” to God’s plan and purposes. Amidst the dyings and risings of our own daily experience, we hand our lives over to the God who fills our days with wisdom and strength and grace for the journey ahead.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the wicked enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise Thee
Forever and ever.
—St. Ignatius of LoyolaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!