DEC. 29. CHRISTMAS. 5TH DAY. LK. 2. 22-35
When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace,
just as you promised;
because my eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared for all the nations to see,
a light to enlighten the pagans
and the glory of your people Israel.’
As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’
One of the truths made evident in this reading is how Christ, and his family, followed all the ‘ordinary” rules and processes of the day without deviation, even though he was the Son of God, and this was made even more evident during the following thirty years, when we know absolutely nothing about how he lived and spent his time?
There is a powerful lesson here for Christians, and that is Jesus Christ spent more than ninety per cent of his life leading “the hidden life”; - and this was in accord with the Will of God the Father!
How this contrasts with “the wisdom of the world”, where we are told that we should strive to be “successful” in our lives; - and fulfil our personal ambitions and desires?
God, through his Son, is saying “no” to this approach to life, and not just via the obscurity of the hidden life, but even more so via his public life and teachings where he lived and taught Humility, Obedience, Meekness, Charity, Self-denial and Self-sacrifice, rather than “success”!
Christ replaced “the wisdom of the world” with the “wisdom of God” which amounted to a simple approach to life where there is only one desire; - “to do the Will of God the Father!”
The reason for Simeon’s ‘announcement’ is he was bearing public witness that the Divine Teacher and Saviour had arrived and doing so at a time when Jesus was too young to proclaim it himself; - and also making Jesus “mission” clear to both Mary and Joseph who were “wondering at the things that were being said about him!”