The time came to bring the child to the temple, which was an awesome structure filled with natural and supernatural beauty. Joseph and I came to the temple as so many other parents had done, but I knew my Son was different. The Jewish laws about offering the first born male because he was holy to God and then buying him back, was only an image of the reality. Couples gladly purchased the redemption of their child with a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
Joseph and I did the same but we both knew, without fully understanding, that the Jewish Laws and the focus upon the first born male was all directed to this moment, when God’s first born would be brought to the temple.
Simeon and Anna
When we had fulfilled all the Jewish rites, a holy man named Simeon and a holy prophetess named Anna suddenly came to us. They were like Elizabeth and Zechariah. They knew. They understood. The Holy Spirit led them. They had words that God wanted us to hear. Simeon spoke first in a very personal way. His holy life was now complete he had seen “the glory of Israel”. He went beyond Israel and spoke of Jesus as “a light to the nations”. He told us that God had revealed his mysteries. The child would be a “sign of contradiction” resulting in “the rise and fall of many in Israel”. He blessed us and spoke to me, “Your own soul a sword shall pierce”.
The Prophetic Words
He spoke for just a few, brief moments but I never forgot those prophetic words – the sign of contradiction – the rise and fall of many in Israel – the sword that would pierce my heart. So much was contained in that brief encounter. Joseph, also, heard the words. They entered his heart as well.
Anna, also, had a clear vision. This child would be for the redemption of Jerusalem. We left the temple holding Jesus in our arms but we knew that the Father only gave him to us for a time. The Father had his hand upon Jesus and a moment would come when Jesus would leave our house in Nazareth and go to the Jordan. After being anointed by the Spirit, he would begin.
A Parent’s Task
To all parents, I say this. God has entrusted you with his sons and daughters. They belong to the Father. He just places them in your hands for a few years. Your task is to awaken them to God and to prepare them for the heavenly Father’s task. Your work is a holy one and you can only carry it out if you yourselves are holy.
Look at your children. Someday, they will leave your house. They will announce their decision. By that time, it is too late. Will they leave your home to fulfill God’s purpose or to fulfill selfish and worldly ambitions? Will they leave your home with clarity or with confusion? With the true God or false gods? With proper or improper desires? Look ahead. Realize that the moment will come when they will no longer be in your hands and no longer living in your home.
While they are still with you, give your faith to them. Let them see the holiness of God in your life and learn the truths of God from your teachings. They, too, can bring forth the glory of God and the salvation of the nations.
Comment: For the next thirty years, Jesus would live with Mary. She would teach him the Scriptures and the purest way of life. She would form his human intellect and will, just as any mother. She asks all parents to do the same with their children.