Sign of Contradiction: Weekly Message for 02-02-2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today’s feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a scene both tender and foreboding.

Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple for the customary presentation of an infant boy to God. There they encounter Simeon, who had awaited the day when he would lay eyes on the Messiah.

We can imagine the scene as a gentle, elderly man takes the Babe into his arms and blesses God, as the humble couple marvel at his words.

Then there is Anna, the holy widow who happens along at that moment and likewise extols the Infant. The whole incident has the feel of grandparents doting on a new grandchild.

Yet nestled in the scene is Simeon’s warning to Mary: “This child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted ― and you yourself a sword will pierce ― so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Indeed, Mary’s heart would be pierced ― with sorrow. But that would be in the future.

For the moment, she would do what she knew she had to do: raise her Son, fulfill the precepts of the religion of her people, and embrace God’s will as she knew it.

This is a timely lesson for followers of her Son who live in a world steeped in secularism and growing disdain of religion. 

Like Mary, we need not focus on conquering the world but rather on presenting Jesus as best we can, through our words and deeds. With that, the Holy Spirit will work wonders. 

To connect better with the Spirit, you might turn to Seasons of Change: A Retreat Guide on Spiritual Growth.

Think of it as a way to be a sign of contradiction in a world that needs to be challenged.

 In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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