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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

1st Reading (1Jn 2:3-11): The way we may be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, «I know him», but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Responsorial Psalm: 95
R/. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands. Sing to the Lord; bless his name.

Announce his salvation, day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.

The Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty go before him; praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Lk 2,32): Alleluia. A light of revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 2:22-35): When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

“Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation”

Fr. Daniel MEYNEN (Saint Aubain, Namur, Belgium)

Today, December 29th, we celebrate the festivity of the saint King David. But, it is actually the entire David's family the Church wants to honor today, and most of all, it is the most illustrious of them all: Jesus, the Son of God, and Son of David! Today, in this eternal “today” of the Son of God, the Old Alliance of King David's time is executed and fully consummated. For, as today's Gospel narrates, the Child Jesus is presented to the Temple by his parents according to the custom of the old Law: “When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord.” (Lk 2:22-23).

Today, the old prophecy is eclipsed leaving the way for the new one: He, who King David had announced when intoning his Messianic Psalms, has at long last entered into the Temple of God! Today is the great day when he, who St. Luke names Simeon will soon abandon this world of darkness to enter the vision of eternal Light: “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel” (Lk 2:29-32).

Also, we, who are God's Shrine, where His Spirit dwells in (cf. 1Cor 3:16), must be alert to receive Jesus in our interior. If today we have the joy of receiving the Holy Communion, let us ask Mary, God's Mother, to advocate for us before her Son: let the old self be taken off and the new self be put on (cf. Col 3:10) so that we can renew our whole being and become the new prophets, who will announce to the whole world the presence of God, thrice saint, Father, God and Holy Spirit!

Let us be, along with Simeon, prophets because of the death of the “old self”! As Saint John Paul II said “The fullness of the Spirit of God is accompanied (…) first of all through that interior availability which comes from faith. The aged Simeon, the ‘righteous and devout man’ upon whom ‘rested the Holy Spirit’, sensed this at the moment of Jesus' presentation in the Temple.”

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “If He had not been born in time, you would have been dead for all eternity. Let us joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption.” (Saint Augustine)

  • “Simeon recognized that Child as the Savior, but he foresaw in the Spirit that the destinies of humanity would be played out around him. Having “touched” the Salvation, the enthusiasm of Simeon was so great that to live and to die were one and the same.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. With Simeon and Anna (…) Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the ‘light to the nations’ and the ‘glory of Israel’, but also ‘a sign that is spoken against’. The sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ's perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had ‘prepared in the presence of all peoples’.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 529)

Other comments

“My own eyes have seen the salvation”

+ Fr. Joaquim MONRÓS i Guitart (Tarragona, Spain)

Today, we contemplate the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, to accomplish what the Law of Moses prescribes: mother's purification and presentation and ransom of the firstborn child.

This scene is described by Saint Josemaría Escrivá in the fourth Joyful mystery of his book The Holy Rosary, while inviting us to get involved in it: “This time, my friend, it will be up to you to bring the cage with the turtledoves. —Do you realize? She —the Immaculate!— submits to the law as if she was unclean. Will you ever learn, you silly child, to submit, no matter what personal sacrifices, to God's Holy Law?”

“Purified! It is certainly you and I who need to be purified! To atone, and, over and above atonement, Love. —A love that sears, that burns away our soul's dirt, and a fire, that inflames with divine flames our heart's misery.”

This Christmas it is appropriate to take advantage of Mary's example to “clean” our soul, by making a sincere sacramental confession and to be able to receive our Lord with our best attitude. Thus, Joseph offers the pair of turtledoves, but most of all, with his work and his pure love, he offers his own capacity to carry forward God's established plan for the Holy Family, example to all families.

The Holy Spirit had assured Simeon that he would not die before seeing the Christ. He goes to the Temple and when, full of joy, he holds in his arms the Messiah, he says: “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation.” (Lk 2:29-30). With the eyes of faith, this Christmas, let us contemplate Jesus who, with his birth, has come to save us. Just as Simeon intoned a thanksgiving song, let all the families gather around the manger and, together, sing in joy, for we are aware the infant Jesus has saved us.