“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace.”

On this Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple (Lk 2:22-40), we are presented with the scene of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus encountering the holy man, Simeon, and also the long-widowed Anna.  The Holy Family comes to Jerusalem to present Jesus to the Lord in the temple as the law requires.  The righteous Simeon, to whom it was revealed that he would see the Christ in his lifetime, comes in the Spirit to the temple that day.  When taking Jesus in his arms he begins with the words above, continuing on to say how the Child will enlighten the Gentiles and glorify the Jews.  He predicts that Jesus will be the rise and fall of many and that He will be the cause of great suffering for Mary.  We are told also of the prophetess Anna who lived in the temple in fasting and prayer; she tells everyone about the Babe.  After this, the Family returns home to Nazareth where we are told Jesus grows in strength, wisdom, and favor with God.  The first sounds that cross Simeon’s lips are words that we should be able to say every moment of our lives — because there will be a moment that is our last.  We, too, have encountered Christ, or at least have the opportunity to encounter Him, in His Word (divine revelation, Scripture and Tradition), and par excellence in the Eucharist.  Do we attend to both with the proper disposition, free of serious sin and with firm desire to commit not even the smallest offense against God and neighbor?  Frequent recourse to prayer and the sacraments of Confession and Eucharist are the means to open us up to amend our lives and live only for Christ.  As we invoke the Lord’s help in our desire to be free from sin and cooperate diligently with the graces He so willingly pours upon those who ask for them, we, like Simeon, can say to God “you may let your servant go in peace” whenever you will me to be with You.  Meanwhile, with Anna we will “[give] thanks to God and [speak] about the child to all” (v. 38) because the Good News will not be able to be contained within us.

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