The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Intention: That, in this Octave of Christmas, our Church will continue to find ways to be the Body of Christ and his Good News to all of the world.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 2: 22-35
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
From the Third Meditation for the Time of Retreat | Saint John Baptist de La Salle
Although Jesus Christ died for everyone, the benefit of his death is, nevertheless, not effected in everyone, because all do not make the effort to apply it to themselves. The response of our will is necessary on our part in order to make it effective. Although the death of Jesus Christ was more than sufficient to wipe out the sins of all, and be complete reparation for them, since God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, nevertheless the grace that Jesus merited for us effects our salvation only insofar as our will is brought to correspond with it. It is up to each of us to achieve and complete the work of our own redemption.
This is what made Saint Paul say very well, speaking of himself, I accomplish what is lacking in the passion of Christ. Is there something lacking, then, in the passion of Christ? Nothing, certainly, on the part of Jesus Christ, but on the part of this holy Apostle, as well as everyone else, what was lacking was the acceptance of his will, the union of his sufferings with those of Jesus Christ as one of his members suffering in him and for him.
Since you are obliged to help your disciples to save themselves, you must engage them to unite all their actions to those of Jesus Christ, our Lord, so that their actions, made holy by his merits and by his consecration, are able to be pleasing to God and a means of salvation for them. This is how you must teach them to benefit from the death of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and to make effective in them the advantages and merits of his death.
Eternal Father, all that is good and right is a gift from you. There are marvelous things that happen in our lives, some that we cannot even comprehend. Lord, help us to be thankful that you care so much about us. Today, let us be especially thankful for your gift of salvation, for second chances to do the right things, to be at our best, to embrace and live your truth. We ask this of you who lives with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.