Tag Archives: Simeon

Our Lady of Sorrows and the Mystery of Christ

“Our Lady of Sorrows”
A reflection on Luke 2:33-35
Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; 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 (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Luke 2:33-35

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The Goldsmith’s Son

Candlemas, 11th century illuminated Byzantine manuscript (Menologion of Basil II)

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Malachi 3:1-4; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40

Out of God’s furnace
Adam emerged,
Shining like silver and gold. 
Light of the Godhead
Pure from his core
Robed him in Glory Threefold.

When the Goldsmith’s crown jewel drifted away and fell into rust, the treasure hunt began. 

Now I am sending my messenger—
he will prepare the way before me;
And the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple;
The messenger of the covenant whom you desire—
see, he is coming! says the Lord of hosts.
But who can endure the day of his coming?
Who can stand firm when he appears?
For he will be like a refiner’s fire,
like fullers’ lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the Levites,
Refining them like gold or silver,
that they may bring offerings to the Lord in righteousness.
Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the Lord,
as in ancient days, as in years gone by.

Malachi 3:1-4

How will the Refiner purify the sons of Levi? The hearts of the Levites were free. Who would step up to the crucible to be dipped and purified? 

The Goldsmith had a plan. 

Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Hebrews 2:14-18

The Goldsmith’s beloved Son, in whose image Adam was cast, would be born of a Virgin into Adam’s family as priest and king of God Most High. He would do his Father’s will with pure love.

On the eighth day after his birth into the world, the Son of God was presented in the Temple of Jerusalem according to the law of Moses, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord.”

The Holy Spirit who conceived the infant priest-king lit a flame in old Simeon’s heart and brought him swiftly to the Temple. At last, the child he had been waiting for all his life had arrived! 

He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”

Luke 2:28-32

Simeon’s eyes glistened with tears as the eyes of his heart were illumined by Light from Light. Prophetic words issued from his mouth from a source beyond this world:

“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Luke 2:34-35

Mary, Mother of the Light, was destined to join the Goldsmith’s Son in the Refiner’s fire to restore Adam to his immaculate origin. The rust and dross of thoughts, images and desires would be scrubbed and scoured by the lye of the Holy Spirit to release the Uncreated Light. 

The kingdom of God is within you.

Luke 17:21

The gray-haired prophetess Anna joined Simeon in rapturous joy, giving thanks to God and proclaiming the birth of their Redeemer to astonished Israelites. 

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Luke 2:40

Prior to the final crushing and burning liquidation of the Goldsmith’s Son, Peter, James and John received a glimpse of their humanity transfigured in Uncreated Light.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them… Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”

Mark 9:2-3, 7

Out of God’s furnace
Adam emerged,
Shining like silver and gold. 
Light of the Godhead
Pure from his core
Robed him in Glory Threefold.

-GMC

Jesus and the Elderly

Presentation
Jesus drew all people to himself, men and women, rich and poor, old and young. The gospels show that even at his birth he gave life to all.

In our readings these days at Mass, St. Luke tells of two old people, Simeon and Anna, who recognize the Child Jesus when he’s brought by Mary and Joseph into the temple after his birth. They give thanks to God and speak about him to those “waiting for the redemption of Israel.” (Luke 2, 36-38

The artist  describes their meeting in the portrait above. The two elderly people are transformed with wonder as they meet Jesus and Mary and Joseph.

We are living in an aging society; our elderly population is increasing. The temptation is to see old age as a stage in life when all is over, but this gospel story gives us pause. The Lord comes at every moment of life. He draws us to himself our whole life long.Not only did Simeon and Anna wonder at the child they saw and held in their arms, but they spoke about him to those “waiting for the redemption of Israel.”

The old have an important role in the Christmas story.

Readings here. .

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Presentation

The Feast of the Presentation of our Lord is the last of the feasts of Christmas, even though most Christmas decorations have disappeared awhile ago.

The Feast is based mainly on Luke’s Infancy narrative which begins in the temple with the announcement to the priest Zacharias of the birth of John the Baptist and ends with the presentation of Jesus in the temple by Mary and Joseph. The two elderly Jews, Simeon and Anna represent the faithful generations that have been waiting for the Messiah.

Previously, Luke tells of the poor shepherds, the outcasts waiting in the dark, who are greeted by the angels. In Matthew, the gentiles are invited in the coming of the magi. Now the long wait of the Jewish people is rewarded as old Simeon takes the child in his arms and utters a prophecy that he will bring light to his people.

We bless candles today to symbolize our acceptance of the light of Christ.

God was present in the Temple of Jerusalem, the Jews believed. They prayed there and offered sacrifices to the Lord. Luke would have us see that God’s Son is one with his Father as he is presented in the temple. He becomes the new temple, God present in our midst in a unique way.  He is our new High Priest who unites us to the Father by the sacrifice of himself.

Jesus later claims that role as he teaches in the temple and prays there.

From simple places, Bethlehem and Nazareth, Jesus was taken by his parents to the splendid temple of Jerusalem. From an everyday world where he’s hardly noticed, he’s carried to the glorious place where heaven and earth meet. From a town hidden on a mountain and a cave cut into a hill, he’s brought and placed as Light for the world.

The presentation of Jesus in the  temple is a highly symbolic feast. Here are the readings for Mass.  Here’s how St. Sophronius, an early bishop of Jerusalem, describes it:

“The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we come in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.

Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendor.

Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves…   By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem.

Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God. Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have mentally received him into our arms, we are called the new Israel.

Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in his honor.”