Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Fall and Rising of Many

The words with which Simeon blessed both Joseph and Mary, and which held a particularly jarring message for that blessed Virgin, ring in our ears and echo in our hearts of faith today. "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."

Of course, this last referred to the death her precious little Jesus child would die at the hands of Roman soldiers at the request of her own religious leaders. But it wouldn’t take that long for Mary and Joseph to see the tidings of comfort and joy turn to bloodshed. For, just as Simeon prophesied, the birth and life of the Word made flesh, God with us, is not well received by all and comes with pain and suffering. To wit:
• December 26—St. Stephen, martyr
• December 28—The Holy Innocents
• January 1—The Circumcision of our Lord

The last evidences both the heart wrenching scene of the suffering of the Babe born of the Virgin Mary and the fulfillment of an age old promise.

So it is with us. There will plenty of the former—suffering for the faith, for the sake of those nearest and dearest to us, and even because of them. But is often in that very suffering we suffer at the hands, or by the words, of our loved ones that the greatest blessings in our lives are fulfilled.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the First Sunday after Christmas, "The Fall and Rising of Many" click on this link.

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