Simeon was a holy and devout man who looked for the redemption of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was with him.
As men of the Knights of St. John, we look to the Saints and holy men as examples of how are lives should be lived. Certainly we root our the fiber of our being into the tenants of our faith and our holy and noble order, by the practice of faith, hope, and charity.
Christ, first and foremost is the model by which we are to live our lives. Second to Christ is St. John the Baptist, the patron of our Order. The biggest lesson that we can learn from St. John the Baptist, is that we must decrease so that He can increase. Our actions in the parish and community should reflect the Light of the World, as Mary reflects the nature and light of her Son. St. Sophronius wrote of the Light of the World in reference to the Blessed Mother:
The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness.
Mary bore the Christ child into the world, and while the angels proclaimed his birth to the world on that first Christmas, Simeon was the first man on earth to proclaim the Savior had arrived.
Simeon was not to see death until he saw the coming of Christ the Lord – that made him an important prophet in Israel, but even on the day he was to perform the custom of the law in regard to Christ, he knew the moment was more about the child nestled in his arms in the temple.
Now Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel. -Luke 2:28-32
As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen the Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness. (St. Sophronius). Despite his status in the community and his important job in the temple, Simeon knew his purpose was not his own, but to proclaim that the Christ had come. We too, by our devout practice of our faith make this same proclamation that Simeon made over 2,000 years ago.
As Christ is the Light of the World bringing us out of darkness, every time we don our uniforms, every charitable act we do, we announce this light to all. One of the most profound rituals we have as Knights is the funeral ritual. It is just as much a ritual for us to honor and remember our brother Knights that have gone home to the Lord, as it is a sobering experience for the family gathered together to witness. From the ritual to the honor guard leading our brother to the final resting place, we announce, just as Simeon announced the coming of the Light, that our brother is going home to the Lord.
We do not stand alone in these final hours remembering the earthly life of our fallen brothers. The angels stand together with us, as we are the visible witness to the life of our brothers, as the invisible witness waiting to take the souls of the faithful to the gates of heaven.
In paradisum deducant te angeli: in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sancam Ierusalem.
May the angels lead you into paradise, may the martyrs greet you at your arrival and lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem.
In today’s first reading from Malachi, we are reminded of who will endure the day of His coming. It is our time on earth to be refined and purified. We have faith in the announcement of Simeon that God remains not only our final and only judge, but a judge that will stand with us in our period of refinement.
Our prayers today are that as Jesus, meek and mild, was presented as a worthy sacrifice in the temple some thirty-years before His ultimate sacrifice so that when we are presented to the Lord in the highest temple of Jerusalem, we are received in the same way, pure in heart and mind.
The Feast of the Presentation also marks in a special way our call to docile obedience to our religious requirements. Mary, most pure and holy, was not compelled by law to subject Christ to the rite of circumcision. There was no need for the Son of the Father, having the fullness of divinity to undergo the laws of men. We could even note that Mary never lost her purity, her virtue was never tarnished. There was no reason to wait for the days of purification to be complete, because she retained her purity. The Light that she brought forth into the world only amplified her complete purity (Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance).
Just like at His Baptism, when John initially refused, out of a sense of duty and her obedience to God, Mary followed God’s law.
Let us today then, on this Feast of the Presentation present ourselves to Christ most High, that we may too be a reflection of the Light born into the world so long ago.