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The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Scripture Readings

On this fifth day in the octave of Christmas, we reflect upon the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Simeon was regarded as a holy man among the people of Israel and was blessed with the promise of seeing the Messiah. Joseph and Mary prove themselves to be good Jews also by bringing Jesus up to Jerusalem for His presentation.

As we hear from John in the first reading, the old commandment, the word heard by God’s people throughout the ages, is not eradicated but rather fulfilled in Jesus. With the coming of Jesus we are presented, as was Simeon in the Temple, with a model—the Word made flesh, the New Covenant—of how to live our lives according to God’s will. John gives us a concrete way to identify Christians: they love their brothers and sisters, they “walk just as [Jesus] walked” (1 Jn 2:6).

his, of course, is not as simple as it might sound. As Simeon tells Mary and Joseph, Jesus is a sign of contradiction through whom many hearts will be revealed. As Jesus was a sign of contradiction—to the Romans, to the Pharisees, to the Sadducees, to Herod—let us not be afraid to be a sign of contradiction in today’s world. Let us, as did Simeon, give thanks and praise to the Lord for preparing our salvation from death in the form of a young child from Nazareth of Galilee. Let sing in the words of today’s psalm “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!” for we have a God who keeps His promises!

 -  Tim Gabrielli