Monday, December 29, 2014

A Talk with Myself

Today's Gospel (Luke 2:22-35):

"When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised;
because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see,
a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.’

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’"

So much is in disarray around me that St. Luke came welcome this morning as a reminder of how God reigns in this our world, this side of the Last Judgment. And Simeon, the holy man and the prophet, said "Nunc dimittis"! Hail, Infant King! Yes, hail to the Newborn, King of the Jews! 

I guess we need to do our best, not so much to contain or control the situation, but to make straight the path to His manger bed. According to one Christmas story, as the Holy Family fled Herod's wrath for Egypt, the stone idols along their path fell before the Infant King. I guess we would wish it so, but the truth lies more in His vulnerability and flight, in the absolute freedom accorded to all to choose to let the Baby rule in our hearts alone. It should come as no surprise that the stone hearts within many breasts in our world today do not perceive and hence refuse obeisance to the Prince of Peace.

Both Ezekiel and St. Augustine read the riot act to the shepherds of God's flock, serving themselves as opposed to tending at the behest of the Good Shepherd. We think of Augustine, speaking out and all the while trembling for the responsibilities come upon him with the office of bishop. The disarray of Herod's court and his violence come surely from failure to recognize the signs and bow down before the Child. For this year's Sunday on the 28th, we missed the Holy Innocents' Feast and the special yearly reminder of their witness in martyrdom to the Infant King.

Each day, each generation starts anew in the darkness of our world, and with star and angel choir invites all to come to the Child enthroned on His Mother's breast. We choose the path of the shepherds. We choose joyful submission to the only One Whose Kingdom shall endure.

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