According to Thy Word.
For mine eyes have seen
Which Thou hast prepared
Before the face of all people,
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles
And a glory to Thy people Israel.
Simeon’s words are, if you will, our last look back at Christmas and Epiphany.His next words turn our heads rather sharply to the season ahead, to the Passion and Pascha:”Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which will be spoken against; (yea, and a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also,) that th thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”We might speak of all the Sundays before Candlemas as “Sundays of the Epiphany” and the Sundays after as “Sundays leading to Lent”. Because Candlemas is a fixed feast and Pascha a movable one the number of Sundays after vary, but always it remains the day of redirection for this part of our year.
5. Jesus was redeemed as a firstborn Son according to His own Words in Exodus 13 and Numbers 18. He fulfilled the Law in every respect (because His parents were faithful). He is the first born and we are the firstfruits that follow. The events that make this all real are still looming in the Church year.
6. The Purification of Mary after 40 days was also required in Leviticus 12:2-8. Jesus was born into a faithful observant Jewish family. The command is given for many reasons which we will not approach here, but the need to be purified is perhaps the central theme of our Lenten Journey soon to be undertaken.