The synaxis of the holy prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna, who, the one a righteous and devout old man, and the other a widow and prophetess, were worthy to hail the infant Jesus as the Messiah and Savior, the blessed hope and redemption of Israel, when he had been brought to the temple to be circumcised according to the custom of the law. All we know of them is given in the second chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke.
The elderly Simeon is filled with happiness today, receiving the eternal God as an infant into his arms. He begs to be released from the bonds of the flesh, for he cries: I have seen Your salvation for the world.
The Elder departed from the bonds of the flesh of this passing life today. He received Christ the Creator and Lord into his arms.
Hebrews 9: 11-14
Brothers and sisters: When Christ came as high priest of the good things which have come to be, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation. He entered, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, and achieved eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself up unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living the God!
Luke 2: 25-38
At that time there lived in Jerusalem at the time a certain man named Simeon. He was just and pious, and awaited the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not experience death until he had seen the anointed of the Lord. He came to the temple now, inspired by the Spirit; and when the parents brought in the child’s Jesus to perform for him the customary ritual of the law, Simeon took the child in his arms and blessed God in these words: “Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace; you have fulfilled your word. For my eyes have witnessed your saving deed displayed for all the peoples to see: A revealing light to the Gentiles, the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were marveling at what was being said about him. Simeon blessed him and said to Mary his mother: “This child is destined to be the downfall on the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed — and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword — so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare.”
There was also a certain prophetess, Anna by name, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had seen many days, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage and then as a widow until she was 84. She was constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer. Coming on the scene at this moment, she gave thanks to God and talked about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
1 John 2: 7-17
Dearly beloved, it is no new commandment that I write to you, but an old one which you had from the start. The commandment, now old, is the word you have already heard. On second thought, the commandment that I write is new, as it is realized in him and you, for the darkness is over and the real light begins to shine. The man who claims to be in light, hating his brother all the while, is in darkness even now. The man who continues in the light is the one who loves his brother; there is nothing in him to cause a fall. But the man who hates his brother is in darkness. He walks in shadow, not knowing where he is going, since the dark has blinded his eyes.
Little ones, I address you, for through his Name your sins have been forgiven. Fathers, I address you, for you have known him who is from the beginning. Young men, I address you, for you have conquered the evil one. I address you, children, for you have known the Father. I address you, fathers, for you have known him who is from the beginning. I address you, young men, for you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one.
Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love has no place in him, for nothing that the world affords comes from the Father. Carnal allurements, enticements for the eye, the life of empty show – all these are from the world. And the world with its seductions is passing away but the man who does God’s will endures forever.
At that time Jesus was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper. A woman entered carrying an alabaster jar of perfume made of expensive aromatic nard. Breaking the jar, she began to pour the perfume over his head. Some were saying to themselves indignantly: “What is the point of this extravagant waste of perfume? It could have been sold for over three hundred silver pieces and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her, but Jesus said: “Let her alone. Why do you criticize her? She has done me a kindness. The poor you will always have with you and you can be generous to them whenever you wish, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. By perfuming my body she is anticipating its preparation for burial. I assure you, whenever the good news is proclaimed throughout the world, what she has done will be told in her memory.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Thursday, February 2 –