Monday, February 02, 2015

Who Will Endure?

But who will endure the day of his coming?  And who can stand when he appears?  For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye.  Malachi 3:2

Simeon had more to endure BEFORE he encountered Jesus in the temple. In essence, Simeon already was devoting his days to prayer in the temple.  He had already purged from his life outside interests. 

Simeon and Anna speak about the child that they were awaiting – and all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem were awaiting.  Jesus is the unlikely hope and expectation of faithful and devout Jews.  They were looking forward to the restoration of God’s rule in Israel.  Although they were awaiting a powerful king or ruler, the unexpected birth of Jesus as a baby boy brings these hopes to fulfillment…not just for Simeon and Anna but for all people.  He was here for purification of society from its sins – just like the refiner’s fire or the fuller’s lye.

While Simeon’s and Anna’s endurance is over, the purification of Mary and Jesus is just getting started.
“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted —and you yourself a sword will pierce— so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  Luke 2:34B-35

From what do you need to be purified?  What will you endure to persist in your faith journey?  The presentation was for Simeon the purification and redemption from a life of waiting into a life of fulfillment. It also can be the same for us if we accept what it means.

Opposing the death penalty had not been an easy fight in a nation where many people still look for “an-eye-for-an-eye” justice.  Living in one of the states that makes significant use of the death chamber – despite having several recent governors who were Catholics and resisted calls from the two bishops in the state – also makes the fight seem even harder. 

That’s why the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review the use of lethal injections in carrying out executions is a welcome move, according to coverage in The National Catholic Reporter. 

The court said Jan. 23 it will review the drug protocols of lethal-injection executions in the state of Oklahoma and consider whether such procedures violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"Our nation has witnessed through recent executions, such as occurred in Oklahoma, how the use of the death penalty devalues human life and diminishes respect for human dignity. We bishops continue to say, we cannot teach killing is wrong by killing," said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. 

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