Lectio Divina – 21
Fr. Martin Kallunkal
“And when the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord observing what is 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 prescribed in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration 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 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 are letting your servant go in peace as you promised; for my eyes have seen the salvation which you have made ready in the sight of the nations; a light of revelation for the gentiles and glory for your people Israel” (Lk. 2:22-32).
The very first thing we notice in this passage is that Jesus’ parents were ordinary Israelites, who wilfully remained so, and, happily observed all religious laws. Although both of them had special personal communication with God they took no exceptions from their religious obligations. They perfectly observed the laws of the Lord transmitted through their religious tradition. Second, Jesus’ parents waited until the day prescribed for purification, namely the eighth day. The eighth day symbolizes Resurrection because Jesus rose on the day after the Sabbath. Purification from all vices becomes complete with the Resurrection. Jesus’ ritual passage through circumcision and presentation in the Temple on the eighth day tells us that we need to practice a definitive circumcision of vices and then present ourselves as a holy offering each time we sacramentally participate in the Paschal Mystery. Another important figure in this passage is Simeon. He helps us to understand how to participate in the sacramental celebration of the Paschal Mystery where we really find Jesus today. As we read in verses 25-28, first, Simeon “looked forward to the restoration of Israel,” second, “prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple,” third, he “took [Jesus] him into his arms;” and fourth, he “blessed God, and he said…” Like Simeon, we need to expect consolation and salvation in our life, we need to walk in to the Church in order to see Christ being brought to us by the priests, we need to receive and embrace Christ who comes to us in the form of Word and Bread, and, we need to thank God for this marvellous gift and speak to him heartily.
Oh, Jesus, once turning to the disciples you said: “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it” (Lk 10:23-25). Lord, today when I see Simeon who lived a just and holy life until ripe old age only to see you for a short while, I understand how blessed my life is. I must, however, confess, Lord, that I still haven’t seen you as Simeon did. Even though I take you into my arms in the daily Mass, I fail to recognize you as the happy end of my life. Lord, I say that I haven’t seen you because I haven’t yet found consolation. I continue to be deeply distressed. Send your Spirit, O’ Lord, to purify and prepare me for meeting you in the Eucharist.
Seeing Jesus Simeon says that he has seen the salvation. Know that salvation is a person named Jesus. Meeting with Jesus lets Simeon go in peace. Sit back gently, relax and feel the peace and manumission that Jesus gives you. You are now free; free to love, free to praise.
Prepare yourself in justice and all holiness for the Eucharist. Recall Simeon’s actions as you enter the Church. Listen to the Word carefully and receive the Communion consciously. Spend some time after the Holy Mass to speak to the Lord: Thank him for this blessed life. Praise him for setting you free and filling you with peace.