“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people
There is a definite sense of relief in these words that Simeon utters in today’s Gospel. Finally, after years of waiting for God’s promise to be fulfilled, Simeon recognizes that the little baby in Mary’s arms is the Saviour of the World. His long life of waiting, and helping others to keep their faith in God, is now over. He can rest in peace, knowing that his work has ended.
The prophetess Anna also demonstrates a great deal of joy when she sees the Christ Child present in the Temple. Here is the hope that the Jewish people had longed for. Here is the one who will bring salvation- not only to the Jewish people, but to the entire world. This is certainly a bold proclamation, which would have no doubt shocked all those who heard it- especially Mary and Joseph!
As shocking as the words of Simeon and Anna may have been, there’s a lot that we can learn from these two figures. Both of them kept faith in God’s promises, even in the midst of oppression and despair. Both of them proclaimed Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Both of them witnessed to their belief in God by their very lives- and in doing so, both of them give us a model of Christian living- of a life devoted to the service of God. This is an example that all of us can follow, no matter what our state in life may be.
Today, we also celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life. This is a special day of prayer for all the men and women throughout the world who are members of religious orders, and other institutes of consecrated life. Like Simeon and Anna, the men and women who live lives of consecrated service to God give a unique prophetic witness to the world. They challenge all of us to give ourselves totally to Jesus in our work, our lives, and in all we do.
As Basilians, we offer special prayers of Thanksgiving for the life and work of all of the members of our religious community. We pray also that young men and women might respond to the call to serve God in the Church in this unique and special
vocation of total consecration to God.
-Fr. Steven Huber, CSB