I don’t know why, but Simion has always been one of my favorite characters in Scripture. He didn’t have a big part in the story, in fact this passage is the only time we hear about him, but he had a crucial part. His single appearance in Luke’s Gospel is part of the daily prayer of the Church. It’s part of night prayer and it’s called the Canticle of Simion.
Simion’s been waiting for a long time, hanging around the temple, because the Lord told him he wouldn’t die until he had seen the Messiah. Today’s the day! He actually gets to hold the Child in his arms. His time on earth is complete. “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.”
But, then Luke says something that seems confusing. He writes that “The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him.” Didn’t they already know? Hadn’t the angels revealed to them who their Son was? I think they did. But, maybe they were amazed that Simeon knew. After all, at this point, the baby was just days old. As far as Mary and Joseph knew, the truth about their Son was known only to the shepherds in Bethlehem.
But Simeon knew. If he knew, who else knew? Could it be that reality was starting to sink in. Even raising a normal, everyday baby is a whole lot different than most parents expect. Mary and Joseph were to raise an extraordinary baby. There would be challenges and difficulties that they couldn’t possibly imagine. Their meeting with Simion was just the beginning.
“Behold, 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.”
Mary and Joseph must have left the temple thinking, “what have we gotten ourselves into?”
You and I face challenges every day. Sometimes God asks us to do things that we never expected; things we think we can’t possibly do. But, like Mary and Joseph, He always gives us the grace to do whatever He asks. All we have to do is say “yes”.