“..and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:35)
Simeon says these prophetic words to Mary when she and Joseph present the baby Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem as per the Jewish laws of purification. As Simeon prophesied, Jesus and the Gospel message bring much division – those who are for and those who are against. Wholehearted belief in the Gospel demands a way of life that is in opposition to the way many in the world insist on living.
Jesus comes to pierce our soul as well – out of our complacency and hardness of heart. He calls us to be who we say we are, Christians without compromise, in the world but not of the world, not a lukewarm version of who we are meant to be. It is a demanding call, but as Simeon said, Jesus – and his followers – are “a sign that will be opposed.” (Luke 2:34) There is a hefty price to pay as even families become divided over the Truth. While we are admonished to treat everyone charitably, we do not, cannot choose the world over Christ.
By our actions and by our words, we give witness to Simeon’s prophesy. The way I conduct myself at home, at work, in my community, in the world has to reflect my beliefs so that there is no question about Who and what I believe. Anything else means that my faith is lukewarm, my life is one of compromise to the Truth. In the eyes of the world, I may be foolish; in the eyes of my extended family, I may be out of touch and fanatical. In the eyes of God, I am His daughter, trying the best I can, with His grace and mercy, to be His daughter.
It is much better that “we are fools for the sake of Christ.” (1 Cor. 4:10) Opposition, as Simeon stated, abounds, but grace abounds all the more and that grace will be our reason, strength, shield and comfort when fear, insults, uncertainty, pride, discouragement threaten our resolve.
The sword that pierces my soul urges me on to embrace and live the Gospel. It is the only sure way to true happiness and authentic love. Let us allow our souls to be pierced with the Love of God and be the sign of contradiction that is so urgently needed in the world.