|The Presentation by Bellini, from CGFA|
As always, starting with the Scripture, from Luke 2:22-38, taken from the New Jerusalem Bible:
22 And when the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord- 23 observing what is written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord- 24 and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is prescribed in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.I have to admit that I think I'd freak out if some random man picked up my child at Mass. Of course, it's possible that Mary and Joseph knew Simeon, at least in passing. I have had an acquaintance snatch Kieran from my arms when he was much younger, because he was so excited to see the baby, but of course I never heard such words as Simeon says. I cannot imagine how I'd react hearing those words about my son. Obviously the angel had told Mary some of the story, and she knew some more from the shepherds who came in Bethlehem, but this was new. What must she have thought? And of course a sword did pierce her own soul, for what mother's soul wouldn't be pierced at seeing her son suffering as hers did?
25 Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 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. 27 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, 28 he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
29 Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised; 30 for my eyes have seen the salvation 31 which you have made ready in the sight of the nations; 32 a light of revelation for the gentiles and glory for your people Israel.
33 As the child's father and mother were wondering at the things that were being said about him, 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed- 35 and a sword will pierce your soul too -- so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.'
36 There was a prophetess, too, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years 37 before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. 38 She came up just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.