The Sunday Within The Octave Of Christmas The Gospel Luc. 2.v.33. Monday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Luke 2:33-40
At that time, And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: "Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed." And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was far advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years: who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord: and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth. And the child grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.
Considerations for Monday
He is put for a ruin, and resurrection of many in Israel.
For as much as he, that is the superior, or more worthy, doth properly bless the inferior, or less worthy: the blessed Virgin Mary, being now made mother of Christ our Lord, and consequently the mother of God, and therefore the worthiest of all creatures by all degrees: how darted Simeon be so bold as to bless her.
This word, to bless, and blessing hath two significations? The one, to impart grace, or some spiritual benefit: the other to speak well of one, or to praise, or proffer him service, or to wish him some good. In the first sense it is God that blest us principally; and instrumentally such as God hath given that authority unto, as are his priests, and our parents; and he that blesseth in this sort is worthier, and greater, then he that is so blessed; So saith Saint Paul of Melchizedek the priest that blessed Abraham. In the second sense the inferior may bless the superior: and so did Abigail a woman, and a subject, bless David her King, saying unto him of the service which she offered him, receive this blessing at the hands of thy servant.
And thus did the three children in the fiery furnace, invite all creatures to bless God; that is, to praise him, and do him service, and worship. Thus did Simeon bless the mother of our Savior Christ, that was the most blessed of creatures by setting forth her excellency, and Prophesying what was to come unto her.
Though if we grant he had blessed her in the first sense, as being priest of God:yet would it follow, that he was greater then she in office and not in excellence of grace, or worthier in the estimation of God, and man. And as unto that, which Simeon Prophecied of Christ, that he was put as a falling, and rising of many: it may signify this: that, whereas the gentiles thought it gross foolery, to believe in Christ as God, whom they took be a mere man only; and the Jews esteemed it a scandal that he whom they had so long expected to be the Messias, and Savior of the world, should be put to death, and crucified as a malefactor: hence it followed that Christ, (as St. Paul sayeth became a scandal to the Jews, and folly to the gentiles; and by that meekness he became the resurrection, and salvation, of all those which believed in him; and the ruin or fall, and damnation of many, which refused to believe in him.
Not that he himself was indeed cause of any mans fall or ruin, for he came for the salvation of us all; but that many through their own fault took occasion of ruin, and scandal at his death, and doctrine; as many use to do now at other mens words, and deeds, be they never so well intended, taking offense, and scandal where none is given, covering their evil will to their neighbors under the cloak of scandal.
This is the literal sense of this Prophecy of Simeon: the moral or spiritual sense may be this. The feast of the nativity of our Lord, as also other feasts of him, and his saints through out the year, were instituted by holy Church out of authority granted by Christ, & intended only for our resurrection, or rising from sin unto the love, and service of God, and so do many make they profit of them; but many also, and it is to be feared the greater part (the more is the pity) do make them an occasion of their ruin, and falling into sin; if of no other sin, yet of the sin of profanation of the feasts; And this alas, doth happen oft times in Israel, as Simeon prophecies, that is to say, amongst those, which are most obliged, to be the especial servants, and children of God, as Israel was; with which circumstance of ingratitude God is more displeased then with the sin itself.
As Christ our Lord was more displeased at him that gave him a buffet on the face, and yet was it only with the flat of his hand (which in Latin is called alapa) then at all the cruel scourges, and scorns, and derisions of the rest of the soldiers; because (as learned men do think) the wretch that gave him that blow, had but newly receive the benefit from Christ of restoring his ear,which Saint Peter had cut off but a little before.