Gospel: Lk 2:22-35
When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the baby up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
There lived in Jerusalem, at this time, a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel; and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord. So, he was led into the temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law.
Simeon took the child in his arms, and blessed God, saying,
“Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for you have fulfilled your word and my eyes have seen your salvation, which you display for all the people to see.
Here is the light you will reveal to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.”
His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, “Know this: your son is a sign; a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”
Today’s gospel reading presents us with what our text describes as being “a very upright and devout man named Simeon,” and it adds, “the Holy Spirit was upon him.” So we are not talking of a priest or a Levite, of a prophet or ascetic, we are talking about an ordinary man, probably married and having children. But the difference with Simeon is that, as the gospel text tells us “he had been assured by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah”. What does that mean “he was assured?” By a vision? Probably not, because such an event would be recorded here. So, by what? Presumably by a deep inner conviction, as in the case of the Spirit’s motion in us. So here we have a man convinced that one day he would see the Messiah.
And the years pass. But nothing happens. He goes to the temple every day, despite the bad weather and his occasional bad health. People begin to laugh at him. Sometimes he begins to doubt: maybe he had imagined the whole miserable business? Yet, Simeon, an old man now, keeps going to the temple every day—until his faithfulness is rewarded.
Doubts should never stop us.