In Luke’s Gospel reading for today, we hear the account of the devout Holy Family arriving at the Temple of Jerusalem. They had traveled the five miles from Bethlehem for a dual purpose- to fulfill the Jewish law by dedicating their first-born son, and present Him to the temple, and so Mary can be immersed in the Purification bath of the Temple. As they are moving up the southern steps of the Temple of Jerusalem, Simeon, a devoted and religious Jew, joyfully steps down to meet them. He is filled with the Holy Spirit and knows before him is the Savior of the World, the Messiah! He has longed for this promised moment for quite some time. How happily did he take the Baby Jesus into his arms? I would think he kissed this precious Child and sighed with peaceful contentment. How sweetly did he smile on this forty- day old baby? Simon has been given a final gift in his earthly life!
I think we can relate to Simon, don’t you? Don’t we long to see God’s face? Don’t we hope for direct contact with our Savior? But if we truly listen to the Word of God, take it into our minds and heart, we can see Our Lord. Do we remember to do this? Or in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, do we rush to hold embrace the corporal gift of Jesus? Have we prepared ourselves for this meeting, like Simeon did? The Holy Family next is met by Anna, a dedicated, prayerful Jewish widow, who also identifies the Infant as Israel’s promised One. Anna has been living, fasting and praying in the Temple for years. She too with joy and thanksgiving, declares the Baby Jesus to be the Savior! This is a lot of fanfare for Mary and Joseph to absorb. Mary and Joseph are feeling surprised by this recognition from two perfect strangers. Wouldn’t you?
In our lives, do we come to our place of worship, ready to encounter Jesus, with the great gladness reflected in both Simon and Anna? Do we use our time to seek Him with a period of Adoration? Let us make the effort to seek Jesus with an increase of joy and dedication.