Today’s gospel from St. Luke contains the account of Christ’s Presentation in the Jerusalem temple by his parents.  We also read of the appearance of the venerable old man Simeon who, after long years of prayer, finally holds in his arms the infant Christ.  We can be sure that the faith, love and messianic hopes of Simeon had been purified by this journey of many years.  We can learn from his persevering prayer.

After blessing Mary and Joseph, Simeon speaks directly to Mary: “Sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your heart.” The little family then returned to their hometown of Nazareth where “the Child grew and became strong…full of wisdom…with God’s blessing upon him.” 

These events are enriched by many biblical themes going back centuries.  To join our own prayer to that of this unique company is both a challenge and an invitation.  The future can never be the same for us, for Emmanuel is truly with us, now and forever.

—Fr. Walter J. Stohrer, SJ, is a member of the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, WI.


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