Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sunday Gospel - Luke 2 22:40

When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought the baby up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice as ordered in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

There lived in Jerusalem at this time a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel, and he had been assured by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So he was led into the Temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law.

Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed God, saying,
“Now, O Lord, you can dismiss
your servant in peace,
for you have fulfilled your word
and my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you display for all the people to see.
Here is the light you will reveal to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.”

His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “See him; he will be for the rise or fall of the multitudes of Israel. He shall stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your own soul. Then the secret thoughts of many may be brought to light.”

There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew in stature and strength and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.

Today's Gospel reading is a most famous one, and again shows revelation of who Jesus truly is and what his role is going to be.  You can imagine the joy Simeon felt, knowing that God's plan had finally come to fruition.

However, as joyful as Simeon must have felt, Mary must have felt foreboding, worry, and anxiety.  It doesn't get much more ominous and horrible than "a sword will pierce your own soul."  How long did she carry that worry?  It had to be in the back of her mind constantly.  I'm sure she wondered what it all meant, and what exactly would happen.

Then, on that darkest of days, when they took Jesus' lifeless body down from the cross and placed Him into His mother's arms, I wonder if she didn't recognize and say to herself, "So this is what Simeon meant..."

Blessed art thou among women...

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