The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: My own eyes have seen the salvation, Which you have prepared in the sight of every people: A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.
We hear these word today, during the Gospel spoken by Simeon, a “righteous and devout” man. Simeon has waited on the Lord’s promise, that he would see the salvation of Israel. Contemporaries of Simeon believed the salvation would come in the form of a new King, like David of old, who would drive out by violence the Roman oppressors of Judea. But Jesus was not that sort of King.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Simeon was able to recognize the salvation of his nation in a baby. Not a conqueror, but an offering. How else could Simeon have foretold Mary’s great sorrow? For the mother of an earthly savior would have no reason to be sad. This infant had no outward signs of the glory within. Jesus’ public ministry had not yet begun, but he was already about bringing the salvation of man by becoming one of us. Simeon is great because he was able to recognize this saving work, even when it was in the form of an unassuming family bringing their child to the temple in accordance with tradition.
In the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of this church, we pray the same words as Simeon at the end of each day. Like Simeon, we are unable to be part of Jesus’s public ministry on earth. But we can see Jesus in the small, meek and unassuming things of this world. We, if we take the time to listen to the Holy Spirit, can observe God’s saving work in the world. For it does not come by chariot or glory, rather the little things and regular occurrences. Let us pray that like Simeon we can truly say we have seen God’s salvation.
Katy Goerke, Office for Spirituality Graduate Assistant