2/2/2023 (Thursday) Today’s gospel reading: Luke 2:22-40
22 When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,
23 just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
24 and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
27 He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
28 he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
29 “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
34 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
35 (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
38 And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
2/2/2023 (Thursday) Today’s gospel reflection: Luke 2:22-40
Simeon and Anna were prophets. Simeon prophesied about Jesus as the cause for the rising and falling of many, about the people of Israel, and about the pain of Mary. Indeed, the coming of Jesus brought about sharp division among many people. Many people are divided because of Him. Many would follow Him but still a lot more would reject Him. Those who believe in him may have everlasting life and will be raised up at the last day (John 6:40). On the other hand, those who reject Him choose to follow satan and will not see life (John 3:36). Therefore, if people cannot enter heaven, it is not because Jesus rejected them but because they rejected Jesus.
As to the pain of Mary, it is about the sorrows of a mother seeing how her son Jesus was born in a manger, then evacuated to Egypt, how He was rejected in His own hometown then accused as prince of devils, and more than all of these is witnessing how her son went through the most brutal torture, crucifixion and death. The pain is so deep that it is like a sword piercing through it. Ah, that pain is so much more than what an ordinary mother could bear! Yet Mary bore it and she is showing us that we too can bear any suffering when it is offered to God through Jesus who experienced the greatest suffering.
On the other hand, Anna spoke about Jesus as the redeemer, the one being awaited for “the redemption of Jerusalem”. To redeem means to buy back and redemption means being bought back. Yes, we rebelled against God through our sins. Yet His love remains and He sent His only Jesus to “buy us back” – that means to bring us back to the Father by paying for our sins through His death on the cross. For the One who redeemed us is no other than the Only Son of God. Jesus Himself told us, we are worth more than sparrows (Matthew 10:31). Thus, we became more than special children.