Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Blessed Epiphany!

I had always thought about the story of Simeon and Anna in this way: that they by the Holy Spirit recognized Jesus, the 40 day old baby boy, as the long-awaited Messiah, simply by virtue of looking at Him. Something I read recently completely challenged this assumption in the following way: It was by seeing the holy family and in particular by looking at Mary, the blessed virgin mother, that Simeon realized the time of promise was at hand.
If we can see Mary as a type or icon of the church, the body of Christ, we can realize that Jesus does not ordinarily will to be recognized apart from the church, the communion of saints in which fellowship he daily and richly gives us all things. As the courageous evangelical-catholic confessors said in 1530, "the Church is the assembly of saints in which the Gospel is taught purely and the sacraments are adminstered rightly" (Augsburg Confession, VII); echoing Acts 2:42, "And they continued steadfast in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread and the prayers."
Make of us, your unworthy servants, such a humble, holy family, O Lord!

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