29 December 2010

Heinz Variety and Eyes of Faith

If a marketing company wanted to do a spotlight for today's Gospel, they could borrow the slogan from the 1980's Heinz ketchup advertisements: "Good things come to those who wait!" Perhaps no one in the history of mankind experienced this more profoundly than Simeon, whom we meet in today's Gospel. One can only glean, from today's Gospel account, that this man had a deep and personal relationship with God to have received a revelation that, before death, he would behold the Messiah.

It is probably not unreasonable to presume that many parents brought their children to the temple to be presented. Only a man with eyes of great faith would have been able to see the Triune God, veiled in the humanity of a fragile infant. And only a man deeply in touch with the Lord could have the keen discernment to recognize the carpenter's son as the Messiah.

We may not spend our days in a temple awaiting the fulfillment of a promise but we might consider that we live in the promise that Simeon awaited. The Lord is come. He was born in time, took on the frailty of our flesh, was crucified for our sins and has risen from the dead. The promise is fulfilled and we are heirs to this great patrimony.

As baptized Christians we believe that the Lord is present to us in our neighbors. As humans -- with clay feet -- most of us probably cannot help but to notice that some of our neighbors do a masterful job of hiding the Lord's presence by their countenance. Still, however, with hearts of faith, we know that the Lord is present to us in those who may annoy or irritate us. We are called to be like Simeon; we are called to see with eyes of faith and to recognize, in the frailty of our neighbors, the presence of the Lord. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be attentive to his presence, as Simeon was, in the most unlikely of places.

"We are told to love one's neighbor as one's self. In token that we love him, we must not avoid being with him."
St. Francis de Sales

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