Jesus is mysteriously recognized as the Messiah by Simeon who is awed and gives God thanks that he has seen the Savior and prophesizes that the Blessed Virgin Mary will experience great sorrow. Every Catholic man can  grow in happiness by growing in the Virtue of Piety so he can have a vibrant devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and by seeking the Gift of Counsel from the Holy Spirit so he can examine his conscience and be cleansed in the Sacrament of Penance. 

Liturgy

Christmastime – 5th Day in the Octave – December 29 – Lk 2:22-35

Commentary

God selected holy and observant Jews to be the parents of His Son. St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary presented Jesus for circumcision and naming eight days after the Nativity. They now fulfill their next religious obligation: the purification after-birth rituals (Lev 12) for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the ceremonial presentation of their first born son at the Temple forty days after birth (Ex 13:11-16). Even though the Blessed Virgin Mary is Immaculate and remains miraculously a virgin, even after the birth of Jesus, she nevertheless presents herself for purification to fulfill the Law and avoid scandal. The presentation of Jesus at the Temple, fulfills the obligation for a Jewish first-born male, consecrating Him to the Lord. The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph’s offering of two small birds, meets the requirements of the poor; Jesus is counted among the poor He comes to save.

Simeon, a devout old man, has long waited for God’s promise that he would see  Israel’s salvation; the sight of Jesus fulfills God’s promise to Simeon and he is moved to prophesize. Simeon’s hymn, called the Nunc Dimittis (Latin, “now dismissed”), confirms Simeon may die in peace and joy, knowing Israel’s promised salvation has come. Beyond Simeon’s comprehension, he is given the profound blessing of holding God in his arms. 

Simeon’s prophecy is a bittersweet consolation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. Simeon reveals Jesus’ mission of salvation to the world, and he blesses the couple, giving the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph joy. But Simeon also reveals the coming Judgment Jesus will bring upon the people and that the Blessed Virgin Mary will suffer deep sorrow (“a sword will pierce through your own soul”), causing the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph sadness. Simeon, an instrument of God’s grace, prepares and strengthens the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph for their coming trials.

Be awed by Jesus Christ

St. Joseph, created by God to be the most virtuous of men to raise His Son, was responsible as the head of the Holy Family to fulfill all requirements of Jewish Law. Marvel at how even at His earliest age, the Son of Joseph is the perfection of the virtues of Veneration and Religion (a part of Justice) through the fulfillment of the ritual requirements of Jewish Law.

Grow in devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Realize: In God’s infinite wisdom, He desires that all men have the blessing of a mother and father. Mothers, like all humans, are prone to sin and fail their children in various ways, sometimes causing deep wounds; and all mothers eventually die. In the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus has given every Catholic man a perfect mother who will never fail to love him.

Believe: Reflect upon the need to grow in Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (CCC 963-975).

Pray: Jesus, Perfect Son, help me build the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I more fully honor, grow in devotion, and seek the intercession of my Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.       

Be blessed in the Sacrament of Penance

Realize: Simeon prophesizes that Jesus will be the cause of, “the fall and rising of many”; this includes every Catholic man.

Believe: Reflect upon the need for a regular Examination of Conscience (CCC 1454).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Counsel so I am guided by You to more fully recognize and confess my sins, I joyously and often receive the Sacrament of Penance, and I am continually guided by You in my slow but steady ascent towards sainthood and Heaven.