Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Holy Family

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Luke 2:22-44

"There was a man named Simeon"

Today’s Gospel narrative tells us how Mary and Joseph took the child Jesus to Jerusalem to be consecrated to the God in the Temple. They were doing what any Jewish parents would do following the birth of their first son. As they entered the Temple they were met by Simeon, a devout man who had been waiting in the temple, hoping some day to see the Saviour. Over the years he must have greeted many families, but when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the Temple Simeon, prompted by the Spirit, scooped the child up in his arms and began to sing praise to God - for the light of the nations was here!

There are people in most communities who are, like Simeon, natural "greeters". They have a knack for making others welcome. They seem to sense that all who come have personal dignity and value, have stories worth listening to and lives of meaning even when they are still strangers. Such people seem to sense instinctively the light of Christ in our world and in others, and like Simeon they welcome it and praise it.

Such outgoing welcome and hospitality, such celebration of the story of each individual, is a firm foundation for a happy and holy family life. When we recognise the light of Christ in one another and in our world generally, the whole world is lit up. What is true of the individual family, the domestic church, applies also to our larger family, the parish. How wonderful it is when we as family greet each other well and warmly, when we assemble not just as bodies in a building, but as persons in community. Then we see in each other God’s wondrous life and goodness. Then we can give light to each other and our world is lit up by simple kindness and recognition and care. And our world and parish and families are changed and charged by our seeing the light in, and being the light to, each other.