christmas carols, a lullaby,and a funeral song
"Now, Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace." —Luke 2:29
The first two chapters of Luke's Gospel record what may be called the first four Christmas carols. The traditional Latin names for these four songs are Mary's "Magnificat," Zechariah's "Benedictus," the angels' "Gloria," and Simeon's "Nunc Dimittis." This last "carol" is part of today's Gospel reading.
Over the centuries, the Church has used Simeon's song as a lullaby, a bedtime song. Before we put our heads on our pillows, the Church calls us to make our peace with God. We are to be so totally committed to Him, so totally repentant, and so totally trusting in Him that we are content to die during the night (see Lk 2:29). Because we have accepted the Lord's "saving Deed," His "revealing Light," and the glory of the Spirit (Lk 2:30-32), we are ready to go home to heaven. We have been doing what we were created to do on earth, and we are ready to die and begin our new, everlasting life in heaven.
The Christmas season is a special time for deepening our relationship with the Lord. Is the Lord so real to you, is your love for Jesus so deep that you will let Him take your hand and lead you through "the valley of the shadow of death" (see Ps 23:4, RSV-CE) into heaven? Sing Simeon's song and learn to trust Jesus this Christmas season.
Prayer: Father, may I trust You completely "now and at the hour" of my death. Amen.
Promise: "Whoever keeps His word, truly has the love of God been made perfect in him." —1 Jn 2:5
Praise: St. Thomas, an archbishop, courageously defended the Church and the faith, refusing to yield to the threats of a hostile king. He paid the ultimate price for his faith, as he was martyred in his cathedral.
Reference: (Our Co-workers retreat occurs Jan. 29/30. Renew your resolve to work for the Lord! Call 937-587-5464 for details.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2009
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