Presentation of the Lord
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. (Lk 2:34-35)
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Very often, having more light is not something we desire as it forces us to confront something we really do not want to see. There can be comfort found in darkness. It has an eerie sense of security to it. We do not have to challenge ourselves or be challenged and can simply exist in some fabricated state of self-fabricated blissfulness. Jesus came to bring light, and it is a light that is resisted by many and hated by some.
It is a light that causes us to see things as they really are and not as we would want or need them to be. It is no wonder then that Simeon boldly and honestly proclaims to Mary, “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.” We have to take the Gospel message as it is and not just use those parts that are useful to us or more palatable. Taking Jesus at face value can and will lead to turmoil and dissention. Hearts will be pierced. Whether we like it, Jesus’ proclamation of what the world God created really ought to look like has real and absolute social implications.
It has a lot to say about how we treat our brothers and sisters: spiritually, personally, economically, and globally. It has everything to do with the poor, the immigrant, the scared, the unborn, the vulnerable, the sick, and the broken. The light opens us to a challenging, table-turning experience that may not be something we want to see but shows us where we need to be.