The Sign of Simeon

Luke 2:22-35
1 Jn 2:3-11/Ps 96:1-3,5-6

…and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
(Luke 2:25)

What was once a great mystery
Was that “sign of contradiction”;
But soon Christ’s Word revealed to me
That His cross was our salvation.

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Jesus 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 turtle-doves 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 the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’ (Luke 2:22-35)

Reflection

Like St. John the Baptist, Simeon was a mystic who was chosen by the Holy Spirit for a specific role: to purify himself in order to bless the child Jesus in the temple at the appointed time, and to apprise His parents about their child’s destiny. In effect, he was one of the earliest signs (together with Anna the prophetess) whom the Holy Spirit picked to fortify the heart of Mary whose “soul would be pierced by a sword.” Malachi’s prophecy had finally come that day when Simeon and Anna entered the temple. “…suddenly the Lord for whom you long (for) will enter the sanctuary. The envoy of the covenant which you so greatly desire already comes, says Yahweh of hosts.” (Mal.3:1)

Simeon was also employed as a sign for all generations of Christians who read about the Word of God. He is an example for us to live a righteous and devout life if we are to be guided by the Holy Spirit in everything we do, and if we want to attain the hope of eternal redemption. We are all called to be mystics in different measures, to be a sign for others by keeping God’s commandments. Like Simeon, we can also see Jesus – in others, by practicing His commandment of love. As John wrote in the first reading, “The way we may be sure that we know Him is to keep His commandments. Whoever says ‘I know Him’ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, the love of God is truly perfected in him.” (1Jn. 2:3-5) We have seen His salvation, have come to know Jesus, and we are at peace. We who have found the Light shall keep His commandments, and never again walk in darkness. It is in fact our duty to bring the light of Jesus to others and help dispel the darkness.

As we reflect on the birth of a new year, let us resolve to live a righteous and devout life, so that the Holy Spirit may guide us to see Jesus.

Heavenly Father, as we end the year, help us to make a firm resolution to perfect Your love in our hearts by constantly meditating on Your Word, and by practicing Your commandment of love for all of Your children. Amen.

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