Octave of Christmas (29th December, 2018)
First Reading: 1 Jn 2:3-11 (God is light)
Gospel: Lk 2:22-35 (My eyes have seen your salvation)
Today we are celebrating the presentation of child Jesus in the temple. The parents of Jesus were fully aware that the child Jesus with them ‘was born of the Holy Spirit and is Son of God’. Yet they went to Jerusalem all the way to offer him at the temple and thus to fulfil the commandment of God. This incident teaches us that it is not sufficient that we are aware of the commandments but they need to be fulfilled too.
Today’s feast also brings before us a great man of God namely the Prophet Simeon. In fact, he is not the only person called Simeon in the Bible. We have three other personalities in this name in the Bible. However, what does this prophet Simeon teach us today?
The Gospel describes him as., “who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him”. We know that his vocation was to the Lord’s Messiah with his own eyes before his death. He is a person who waits for the fulfilment of the prophesy of salvation of people in faith. He praises and thanks the Lord with much joy saying, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sigh of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” While we celebrate the arrival of Jesus on Christmas, he was in wait for him.
Simeon, for us, is an example for us to exhibit that faith never fails. His faith was that he he would witness the child Jesus before his death and this got fulfilled too. The Gospel does not show how long he had to wit but he waited in patience. And his waiting in patience did bear fruit.
We see similar accounts of faith of many persons in the Gospels. Many sick and ill sought cure and many sinners’ salvation from their slavery to sins. Some had to wait for several years but their wait did bear fruit. Their faith cured of them of their illnesses. Today we want all things happen at the fastest way possible. We seek fast relief from our problems. When we have to go through suffering at sad events for a long time, we lose hope. We begin to think that everything has ended. In such pattern of thought, Simeon comes across to us as a person of courage for us in our despair and disappointment. He lived in hope and wait that the Israelite’s would receive salvation and it became true.
The Lord is comfort for us and would grant salvation to us too. This is what the belief we should have and keep on having too. The words of Jesus would comfort us and give us courage at this instance. He told St. Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn 20:29). Let us pray that our faith does not vanish or weaken at failures or difficulties that come across our life but remain strong and our love for him and one another deep rooted. Amen.