Simeon teaches us that not only does God hold us in his arms, but he delivers himself into our arms as well.
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Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
One of the first encounters Jesus has is with the old man Simeon. The Gospel notes a detail that helps us understand the meaning of this encounter well: He “took him into his arms and blessed God.”
We’re used to thinking that it’s God who holds us in his arms, and that’s true. But Simeon teaches us that not only does God hold us in his arms, but he delivers himself into our arms as well. This means that not only does he care for us, but we must also care for him.
In the Incarnation, God asks us for reciprocity. He doesn’t just want to love us, and he doesn’t just want us to love him; he wants a relationship of reciprocity to be created between us and him.
Indeed, it’s in this relationship of reciprocal self-giving that the miracle of salvation takes place. The greatness of this relationship lies in the fact that he who has no need of us makes himself in need of us. We, on the contrary, who certainly need him, very often live as if we didn’t.
Jesus coming into the world is the light that illuminates our nights. Old Simeon says this aloud as he blesses God:
“…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.”
We Christians should never forget that while it’s true that we cannot avoid facing many nights in life, it’s also true that we have Jesus as our light. With him there’s always a way out even when it seems that all is lost.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.