At Mass today we hear of how the Holy Family made the trek to the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the law that “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord.” It’s quite the scene: the Temple is busy with activity. All kinds of sights, sounds and smells bombard the senses. It is easy to fade into the background in such an environment. People are coming and going offering prayers and sacrifices. As Mary and Joseph carry the infant Jesus, Simeon enters the scene. He sees beyond the hustle and bustle. He has come prompted by the Holy Spirit, seeking the Christ, and through the eyes of faith he sees in this baby the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. How beautiful! But this encounter also brings about something in Mary and Joseph as well. Simeon prophesies and blesses them and says to Mary, “…you yourself a sword will pierce—so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” It seems to be a strange kind of blessing!
We too are asked to make an offering. We too are to look beyond the hustle and bustle of our busy world. Though none of us will stand on the steps of the Temple holding this infant, we present Jesus to all we encounter. We do this in how we live our lives and speak our words. The Holy Spirit reaches out to us, calling us to greater blessing. The question is, are we ready to hear the blessing that God desires to give us? Can we see through the eyes of faith that the sword is truly a blessing; that a change within is what God desires? In the first reading, Malachi tells us that the Lord will refine “them like gold or like silver.” It is through conversion of heart that God prepares us with the sword. It is through deeper conversion that we are granted the greatest blessing imaginable—union with God!
May the Lord purify us and draw us unto Himself. May He find hearts pliable in his hands and faith that is firm. May we seek greater conversion of heart, so that at the end of our days we may say in the words of Simeon: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation.”