Gospel: Lk 2:22-40 (or Lk 2:22-32)
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 first born 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.“
There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband; and since then, she had been continually about the temple, serving God, as a widow, night and day, in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There, the child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.
To redeem the Redeemer
One of the most interesting rites of the Jews was the “Rite of Purification“ that the mother had to go through (see Lev 12). In this rite, the woman considered unclean goes to the temple to offer sacrifice for her cleansing. She was also to redeem her child by offering a lamb or 2 turtle doves.
But what awesome mystery we have here! The Immaculate Mother, who did not need to be purified, goes to the temple, to redeem her firstborn son! She brings her offering-two turtle doves, the offering of the poor. But the priest does not take the turtle doves! Instead the priest takes her child! Simeon, rejoiced to see before his death the true Lamb! He then prophesies that she would receive back her child for now! But the time will come when the child, the Lamb of God, will be sacrificed! In the fullness of time her own soul shall be pierced when she shall see her son pierced through!
Oh Mary, you had to redeem the Redeemer! But you would, in the fullness of time, be united to your son in His sacrifice. Deign to intercede for me that I may appreciate the sacrifice you have made and be willing to be united also to the sacrifice of my Redeemer!