Luke 2:22-35 The Thoughts Of Many Hearts
The parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord…[They] 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.”
When you work in a parish and school you get to see a lot of people every day but get to know just a few very well. What helps to get to know someone is when they take the time to come up to you and speak to you. Only a few people in a parish ever end up doing just that.
Yesterday I did the funeral mass for a man named Robert. He had just come back to his faith and was going through RCIA. He passed away early in the morning on Christmas Day. It was a freak accident and his death caught everyone by surprise. He left behind a wonderful and loving wife.
Robert was a very loving man. He took the time to speak to you. He grew up in a hardworking family. His father was a very successful architect long before degrees and certifications were necessary. Although his father never graduated from college, education was important to him and he sent his son to study at the finest high school in Dallas and then to Georgetown University to study law. Throughout his young adult life, Robert spent an exuberant amount of time educating his mind. Later in life, he spent an exuberant amount of time educating his heart. He understood that the secret to happiness was not to be found in learning more but in loving more. He did both, and he did both very well.
Like so many young men, he had strayed far from the Church; first as an atheist, then as an agnostic. Eventually, he came home: Rome sweet home.
I first met Robert after Sunday Mass. I could see on his face that he was curious about my life and the message I had communicated in my homily. That day, I had mentioned to the congregation that I had worked as an engineer. That caught Robert’s attention. But when I mentioned to my parishioners that, given the choice between living with professional scientists (or engineers) or with amateur poets and loving friends, I would prefer to live all the days of my life with the later; well, that caught his attention even more. It turns out he felt the same exact way.
As a priest, you never know who you’re going to meet and why you’re going to meet them. About two months ago, Robert insisted that I go meet his elderly mother. I said I would and promptly forgot all about it. A few weeks later, he reminded me once again; and again, I completely forgot about it. Finally, he sent me an e-mail and offered to drive me to his mother’s house. I felt so ashamed I replied I would go that very day to visit his mother. We met there and he presented me to her. I wondered that day why he felt the need for me to meet her. I didn’t see the rush. Robert’s mom was not sick. He was not sick. Why all the fuss? God knew why. He always does. I told her I would be back in a few weeks. Little did I know that I would be back on Christmas Day…and this time to console her.
The parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Little did the parents of Jesus know who they were going to meet in Jerusalem and why they were going to meet them. Little did they know what would be said about Him or about them. But they didn’t need to. Their life was a journey wrapped in faith. It revolved around their faith in God. They were not about to write their child’s story for Him. It was faith that brought them together. It was faith that brought them into marriage. It was faith that took them to Bethlehem and Egypt and up to Jerusalem and to Simeon.
Let’s learn from the Holy Family. Let’s allow faith free reign in our hearts. In this way, the thoughts of many hearts, including God's, will be revealed!
Our faith in God allows God to do His work through us and to share His life with us. Our faith in God should allow God’s Will to be done. Why fret? Are we not destined for the rise and fall of many? So, to whom shall we rise and for what shall we fall? We should all rise to Christ and fall in love. Yes, if we remain united to the Father, then we will rise and fall like the Lord.
Do you want to live like that? Then allow the Lord free reign in your heart. Allow the Lord to make your life a visible sign of His presence. Are you ready to be a sign of contradiction?
The Lord’s life is full of contradictions: He is God and He is humble; He is demanding and He is forgiving; He is honest and He is loving; He wishes to be served and is constantly serving; He is extremely wise and extremely illogical; He is God and man; He predicts the future and will not change it one bit.
The Lord revealed who we are through himself. Now, it is our turn to reveal who He is through us.
Let’s do it! You never know how the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.