Moms and dads love to talk about what their newborns will become. They speculate about the future and the great things he or she might accomplish.
For all we know, Joseph may have thought of his firstborn, Jesus, inheriting the family carpentry business. Maybe they dreamed of their boy becoming a doctor, lawyer, musician, or maybe a chef. Mom, Mary, perhaps looking at his strong limbs, believed he would be able to care for her and Joseph in their advanced years. Little did they know at this point how Jesus would care for them in their advanced years and care for all people by the cross.
With words given by the Spirit of God, Simeon went on to tell Mary the future occupation of her baby boy.
"Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed" (Lk 2:34b-35).
As Jesus offers the forgiveness of sins as a gift, he will be a stumbling block to those who insist in their own righteousness. And those who insist on their own righteousness, or never hear of Christ's righteousness, will see how empty and useless their own righteousness is on the day of judgment. There truly are many people who are nice and good, but for salvation we need to trust in Christ's goodness-to inherit eternal life-not ours.
Simeon says to Mary, "and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed" (Lk 2:35). Many Christians believe these words refer to the sorrow Mary will undergo seeing the suffering that her Son will undergo for the salvation of the world. Simeon says that the sword of Jesus' preaching will pierce Israel. It will be the cause of salvation for many, and the falling away of many who harden their own hearts. There is something which divides people in life more than ethnicity, culture, race, or sex. That which divides people, pierces hearts more than any human distinction, is the preaching of the Gospel. This is something that Mother Mary and stepdad Joseph did not envision when they had their thoughts about what their firstborn would do in future years. But Simeon knew, in time the apostles would learn, as would Mary, and Jesus' younger brothers and sisters. With joy, you and I are given to kindly, lovingly, and truthfully witness to our neighbor about Christ. Talk only when necessary. But witness through acts of charity, motives of service, ears of patient listening, wallets of generosity. In this manner, people are slowly made more receptive. So when you do speak telling them that Jesus died for the sins of the world and inviting them to Our Savior’s, they may be more receptive and their future will shine more brightly than that of any doctor, lawyer, musician, or chef; their future will shine with the angels in heaven. This is the epiphany missionary zeal which is at the heart of all that we teach and confess at OSL. May the star shine brightly in our lives, and from our lives to others, that all may know a happy new year in the one named JESUS.