When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him 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 turtledoves 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 oppose
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Most of us have no idea when we are going to bid goodbye to this world and enter the next. We hope for a long life, the joy of being with family and loved ones till the cows come home. But how many years? No one knows. Simeon, in Luke’s gospel, is an exception. The Holy Spirit assures him he will not see death until he has seen the anointed of the Lord.
This happens on the day Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple to be consecrated to the Lord. By grace, Simeon is there and he knows this is the One. His prayer is answered. He holds the child tenderly. As far as he is concerned, his pilgrimage is over. He tells God: Take me; I’m ready.
Most of us are not exceptions. We remain in the dark about the length of our days. So it was for Joseph. And for Mary. Simeon predicted a sword would pierce the heart of Jesus’ mother. That pain would bring each time a kind of death. Like Mary, then, we live the days God grants us—many or few.
We accept the arrows and heartaches, along with the Simeon-like ecstasies that come our way. We know not the hour nor the day, but through our daily offering tell God we are ready when he is: Take, Lord, and receive all that I am!
—Fr. Paul Faulstich, SJ spent many years in India and is now doing pastoral ministry at Loyola University in Chicago.
Our Lady of the Wayside, for the sake of the Child you hold in your arms, take hold of my hand for the rest of the road.
—Irish Sacred Heart Messenger, Dec. 1992