When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they 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».
The life of a man of faith is conditioned by divine love. He expresses this love received, in daily life, by applying the laws of society, in a manner consistent with the faith, comprehensible to the men of society, and faithful to the divine will. The parents of Jesus, through their human actions, show the world that a life of holiness is quite possible, even in an unjust society.
It is very often in these actions, through correct discernment of human being, that God acts in the hearts of men. People who live their lives according to God's will, will easily recognize God's works in their actions. Simeon and Anna are a perfect example. Impelled by the Holy Spirit, they will give glory to God, identify and reveal the divine presence, so that ordinary men like us can benefit from it. The more our life is filled with love and compassion, the closer are we with the divine will. If there is no love and compassion in our thinking and doing, the spirit of God is not more there. It is by this human love that we understand divine intervention.
Action of the day: Be a person of love.
«Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation»
Fr. Daniel MEYNEN
(Saint Aubain, Namur, Belgium)
Today, December 29th, we celebrate the festivity of the saint King David. But, it is actually the entire David's family the Church wants to honour today, and most than all, it most illustrious of them all: Jesus, the Son of God, and Son of David! Today, in this eternal “today” of the Son of God, the Old Alliance of King David's time is executed and fully consummated. For, as today's Gospel narrates, the Child Jesus is presented to the Temple by his parents according to the custom of the old Law: «When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they 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’» (Lk 2:22-23).
Today, the old prophecy evanesces to leave the way open for the new one: He, who King David had announced when intoning his Messianic Psalms, has at long last entered into the Temple of God! Today is the great day when he, who St. Luke names Simeon will soon abandon this world of darkness to enter the vision of eternal Light: «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» (Lk 2:29-32).
We too, who are God's Shrine, where His Spirit dwells in (cf. 1Cor 3:16), must be alert to receive Jesus in our interior. If today we have the joy of receiving the Holy Communion, let us ask Mary, God's Mother, to advocate for us before her Son: let the old self be taken off and the new self be put on (cf. Col 3:10) so that we can renew our whole being and become the new prophets, who will announce to the whole world the presence of God, thrice saint, Father, God and Holy Spirit!
Let us be, along with Simeon, prophets because of the death of the “old self”! As John Paul II said «The fullness of the Spirit of God is accompanied (…) first of all through that interior availability which comes from faith. The aged Simeon, the ‘righteous and devout man’ upon whom ‘rested the Holy Spirit’, sensed this at the moment of Jesus' presentation in the Temple».