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Homily: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph [B]

How lovely, how tender, the way aged Simeon, the frailties of his years draped over him, cradles the infant Jesus in his arms. Imagine holding in your arms this most wanted child, the hope of the ages, the yearning of your entire life.
James C Howell

The readings for The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Luke 2:22-40) cycle B can be found here.

Anybody familiar with the Liturgy of the Hours will likely have heard the words of Simeon. Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum, in pace. Lord, let your servant go in peace, as you promised.

The Nunc Dimittis is said at night prayer, usually vespers or compline, and is derived from the Gospel reading used this Sunday.

Aside from that bit of trivia, the scripture scholar will tell you that the witness of Simeon and Anna marked Jesus as the new Temple. To understand this better we need to understand what the Temple meant to the people in Jesus’ day.

Heerak Christian Kim tells us that “during the Hasmonean period, it was priestly individuals who assumed royal powers, not the Davidic line. …where to be priestly was essential to rise to power… The Jerusalem Temple was the source of power and authority. The Jerusalem Temple is what granted individual and corporate salvation on the religious level. The Jerusalem Temple was too sacred and too central to the experience of the Jewish people to be ignored or opposed.”

Simeon and Anna represented the Temple cult and God’s people who were waiting for the the Messiah. By the time Luke wrote the Gospel the Jerusalem Temple had already been destroyed by the Romans. Jesus was recognized by the Lucan community as the new Temple where salvation was granted. The witness of Simeon and Anna gives meaning to the redemptive power of Jesus.

The witness of Simeon and Anna also provides a model for our witness today. Helmut Flender explains that “Luke expresses by this arrangement that man and woman stand together and side by side before God. They are equal in honour and grace, they are endowed with the same gifts and have the same responsibilities.” We are all called to share in this witness.

Simeon and Anna recognized that the unfolding events meant that the wait was over. With Jesus, came the kingdom.

Today, our witness to the redemptive power of Jesus, the new Temple, includes God’s kingdom here and now. This is our responsibility as Christians.

Christianity is not simply a doctrine: it is an encounter in faith with God made present in our history through the incarnation of Jesus. Try by every means to make this encounter possible, and look towards Jesus who is passionately seeking you. Seek him with the eyes of the flesh through the events of life and in the faces of others; but seek him too with the eyes of the soul through prayer and meditation on the Word of God…

Saint Pope John Paul II “Message of the Holy Father John Paul II to the youth of the world on the occasion of the XIX World Youth Day 2004”

If you take one thing away from this homily it should be that we are all called to witness to God’s salvation in Jesus. This salvation is meant for everybody, not a select few, as God’s promise is for all.

Jewish understanding of salvation was limited to obedience to the law. Our understanding of salvation is to seek Jesus and bear witness in the events of our lives and the people we meet.

“Living fully, loving wastefully and being all that we can be” is my definition of seeing the presence of God in human life.
John Shelby Spong

My all time favorite explanation for witnessing to Jesus comes from Bishop John Shelby Spong.

If we can all strive for this type of witness, God’s kingdom will come.

God bless,


About neodecaussade

I am a Roman Catholic quester. You will find that I have scripture based academic interests. You will discover that I am a conservative Catholic but I am also prone to heterodox tendencies. I am versed in highly pietistic traditionalist practices but I am not a traditionalist. I am interested in entering a discussion on the future of the Roman Catholic Church. I would like to have a role in discussing how the future Church will be shaped.

2 responses »


    A CHRISTIAN QUOTE: “I believe the Bible to be the inspired inerrant word of God, however, translations of that inspired word of God are not inspired, inerrant, nor infallible…This is an example of Mistranslation Sarcoma in all its glory.

    If you cannot trust translations of the Bible to be the word of God, then where do you find the truth?

    What is Mistranslation Sarcoma? It is a common malignancy, primarily found among those who participate in Biblical study and dialogue. It is also widespread throughout the pseudo Biblical community. This disease is not a respecter of persons. The malignancy seems to spread more rapidly in an atmosphere where man’s personal knowledge and wisdom are exalted.

    What are the symptoms of Mistranslation Sarcoma? Such persons may have a tendency to hold their peers, professors, and assorted leaders in high esteem concerning opinions about the Scriptures. They may place very little trust in God who promised them the Spirit of truth if they would just obey Him.
    They may give the Holy Spirit inspired book little or no weight in its own defense.

    The person suffering from Mistranslation Sarcoma will usually show a disregard for certain Scriptures, i.e. 1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you. Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. If unsure that a person has Mistranslation Sarcoma, just ask them, many are willing to admit it. Some reflect a grow of pride at being infected with it, seeing it as a mark of intelligence.

    What are the ramifications of the disease? The benign carrier sometimes seems to escape unmarred; however, this is not necessarily true of those he has infected. Their problems range from slight impairment, through destruction of their very soul.

    This disease is highly contagious. It is found in some degree in every fundamental group, every denomination, every cult, and among the street scholars who judge the Bible.

    Is there a cure? Yes, prayer, honest study, and not kicking against the pricks when confronted with the truth.

    How is it possible that men trust God to send His only Son as Savior for the world, and believe God resurrect Jesus from the grave, but do not trust God to provide a translation of His written word that is trustworthy?

    (All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)


    • Dear Steve,
      Thank you for the comment. I am happy you know that I do not suffer from mistranslation sarcoma. Your encouragement is appreciated. God bless,


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