Jump to content
An Old School Catholic Message Board



Recommended Posts


Two things were required of Mary and Joseph according to the Law of Moses: Jesus’ parents were required to present Jesus in the temple, dedicating him to God as their firstborn son. Also, there was Mary’s need for “purification.” We read in the Book of Leviticus that a new mother was to be cere­monially purified by a priest forty days after childbirth.

As travellers to the big city, Mary and Joseph likely did not know Simeon or Anna.  I imagine that Simeon and Anna where people watchers. These two old people who spent their time in the Temple day after day after day. They probably saw quite a lot. They watched the priests go about doing their work. They saw the crowds come and go. They knew who the regulars were, who lived in Jerusalem, and who came from a distance. Simeon and Anna were known to their own congregation. Many could likely recite Simeon’s list item as he retold and retold the story of the Holy Spirit promising directly to him that he would not die until Simeon had witnessed God’s Promised One with his own eyes. The Spirit had urged Simeon that morning in particular to get to the Temple on time. Many could likely tell stories of the widow-prophet Anna ministering within the congregation for six full decades beyond her husband’s early death. 

 Anna and Simeon were part of the community woven into the faithful so fully that perhaps their regular presence was just assumed or taken for granted. Unlike the priests who were too busy to notice, or the crowds who were too much in awe of the place to see, or the scribes and Pharisees who were too busy to look, Simeon and Anna watched a couple, with a baby five weeks old, come forward to do what the law required of them “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons”. They had of course seen it all before. They had seen countless people, from all parts of the world, come forward to fulfill the law’s obligations. They had been there when the Temple was packed for Passover and nearly empty on cold winter evenings. They had been there for the great festivals and for the private family ceremonies. They had seen it all before, and because they had seen it, they knew that this was somehow different.

What was different was how ordinary it all was. There were no fanfares, or trumpets. There were no processions or gorgeous vestments. It was just a man, and a woman, and a baby, and two pigeons. But that was all that it took for Simeon and Anna to recognize the presence of God in their very midst. In the painfully ordinary scene, they recognized the one for whom they waited: the Lord’s Messiah; the Light of the Gentiles; the Glory of Israel; the redeemer of Jerusalem. There cradled in his mother’s arms was the One for whom they waited. It would all have been so easy to miss, and many did. And many do.

Human nature being what it is, we expect, indeed we demand something grand from God. We expect, indeed we demand, fanfares and trumpets, processions and gorgeous vestments. We expect, indeed we demand lightning and thunder and wild visions. And sometimes, sometimes God obliges. But mostly God doesn’t.

Simeon and Anna practiced presence.   They had lived long and dream the dreams of their people and continued to show up and continued to dream—the “old shall dream dreams” as the prophet Joel predicted.

Mary and Joseph are doing the usual, making a small sacrifice, and presenting their 8-day old son for circumcision.  Simeon and Anna offer welcome and blessings for a family far from home.  

 On that day long ago, God came into the Temple as an ordinary, helpless infant and two people saw and recognized him for who he was. They saw and recognized him because they had spent lifetimes waiting, and watching, and looking.

Maybe it is your turn. Maybe  you are Simeon, you are Anna. Maybe you will see and recognize the Lord in our very midst. Maybe tonight the Lord will be placed in your outstretched arms.

So, look about you. What do you see? Or perhaps I should say, Look about you. Who do you see? For the Lord is in our midst.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...