Luke 2 16-21

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over.

“Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

When the eighth day arrived, the day of circumcision, the child was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived.

Gospel Reflection

Today we share Mary’s joy as, with Joseph and the shepherds, she contemplates her little Son. All too soon, just six weeks later, Simeon’s words were going to turn her world upside down even though Simeon’s first words were full of joy and wonder as he held the Child. “Now Master you can let your servant go in peace,… for my eyes have seen your salvation; a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.”

We are told that Mary and Joseph stood there wondering about these words as Simeon spoke about the Child. Then Simeon spoke directly to Mary; devastating words, articulating not the glory that was hers because she was the mother of this Child, but the anguish and pain she would suffer because she was his mother.

Reading Luke’s description of this encounter, I am always glad that Anna was there. I like to think that this old woman, full of wisdom, put her arms round Mary, and comforted her. Mary would treasure and ponder Simeon’s words about her Child, as she pondered Isaiah’s utterances about “the suffering servant.”