Monday, December 28, 2009

Daily - 12/28/09

Luke 2:22-35

22 When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,

23 just as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,"

24 and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him.

26 It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord.

27 He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,

28 he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

29 "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,

30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,

31 which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,

32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."

33 The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;

34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted

35 (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Good morning to all. I hope your Christmas season is going well. I'm back in STL now but we were in Omaha for the holiday - we had a white Christmas to the tune of more than a foot of snow!

Today's reading is well known and revered by the church. The whole episode is the fourth joyful mystery of the Rosary. Verses 29-32 are the Canticle of Simeon, is the last of the three great canticles of the New Testament. It is known in Latin as the Nunc Dimittis, and is sung in the Liturgy of the Hours in Night Prayer. The other two are the Canticle of Mary (the Magnificat) and the Canticle of Zechariah (the Bededictus), which are also part of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Simeon's canticle is short but it packs quite a punch. He addressed the Lord as a servant. In Christ he sees his own salvation, as well as that of the Jews and the Gentiles. He was devout and righteous, and because of this God allowed him to see truth. The lowly servant sees what the High Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees couldn't see.

What a great lesson for all of us.

ASIDE: One thing that strikes me about these passages in the first two chapters of Luke is that the only way Luke could have known this information is to have sat down and interviewed Mary. I'd like to have been a fly on the wall for those conversations.