Here is my homily for the weekend. God bless all!
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
February 1/2, 2020
Malachi 3:1-4; Heb 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40
Two weeks ago, John the Baptist cried out, “Look, there he is! I see him now!” Last week, the prophet called Jesus the Light that has come into the world.This week, Simeon proclaims, “My eyes have seen our salvation… a light of revelation and glory!”
What did the Baptist, and Isaiah, and Simeon have in common?
It was faith.
Imagine the scene. A very nondescript family enters a busy temple filled with a lot of people. Lots of parents bringing their first born sons into the temple that day to perform the required ritual. To almost everyone, they are just a poor family like hundreds of others, but all of a sudden, Simeon, an old man whose physical eyes were no doubt growing dim due to age, bursts out and exclaims, “There he is! The light to the nations. The holy one of God!”
In what was a very ordinary day, Simeon saw something others did not see, except the prophetess Anna, we are told. He saw the presence of God in the face of a child; he saw a light revealed to all peoples, given to all men and women.
On a physical level, we don’t know light, recognize light, unless we have eyes to see. A completely blind man from birth only knows light by way of description, i.e., by attempts others make to describe it to him. He cannot see it himself. He has to use his powers of estimation, imagination, and speculation to try to know light. He can only have a very rudimentary understanding.
A man with eyes that can see, eyes that are healthy, sees light directly.
We don’t really know or recognize Jesus — who is the light come into the world — unless we have faith-eyes. Faith is our spiritual eyes. Faith-eyes apprehend God, see Him, and recognize Him, even in the small and insignificant events of life. A person with faith-eyes is never bored. How could he be if he sees God’s presence wherever he turns? God is too beautiful and interesting to bore someone.
Faith-eyes are illuminated by the presence of God. Faith is like a beam of light which allows us to recognize God. “Look! There he is!”
Do you see Him? Do you have eyes of faith?
Do you see God in the face of a child? Do you see God in the face of a poor man? Do you see God’s presence when you look at yourself in the mirror?
If only we would see him with our faith-eyes. How differently we would treat each other and ourselves.
For me, few things frighten me more than the thought of going blind. It frankly terrifies me to think of not being able to see. I have no real reason to fear this because my eyes are pretty healthy, I am told. Yet, if I let myself think about blindness, I almost panic.
Without the light of the sun, or my house lamps, I’d be lost in a world of darkness and anxiety.
So, I ask myself, “If I fear so much losing my physical sight, losing the light of this world, why do I seem less frightened of losing my spiritual sight? Why do I seem less frightened about losing my ability to see God, who comes into my life and the world as a brilliant Light?
It takes God to know God. Faith is God’s gift; only he can give it. God reveals himself and we don’t reveal him to ourselves. It’s all about God in the end. It’s all God’s gift, and he is not stingy with his gifts. He lavishes his gifts on us, especially the gift of faith. He is a light to all the nations, not just for a few special ones.
The gift of faith-eyes is ours, if we accept it. It’s already been given. Will we accept the gift of faith so we will recognize him, be enlightened by him, know him?
This gift, the ability to see and know light, to recognize the difference between light and darkness, is given to all, the large and the small, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, men and women, the healthy and the ill. God gives faith so we may never be alone, so we can always be with him, always able to see him in whatever circumstance of our lives, to see him in the kitchen, the garage, the farm, the office, the job site, and in the classroom.
Many people today cannot see any difference anymore between spiritual light and darkness. They cannot distinguish between God, who is Light, and the world which they see to be dark. “Where is he?” they protest. This is one reason why it is so important that we take care of our faith, that we nurture it, and attend to it. For we need never to be alone. We never need to be in the dark. With our faith, we can see the presence of God, the light of the world, in all our lives. May God be praised!