Simeon the Groundhog – Good News for February 2

2 02 2010

Luke 2:22-32

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.

He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

The Daily Path: Today, the Roman Catholic Church and others, celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Luke describes the historical event in the life of Jesus in today’s reading. February 2 is also the celebration of Groundhog Day in Canada and the U.S. According to this oral tradition, if a groundhog emerges from his burrow and fails to see its shadow it will leave the burrow thus signaling that winter will end soon. However, if the little creature sees its shadow, back in the burrow it goes for more slumber and six additional weeks of winter.

What do these two celebrations have in common? Nothing. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Just kidding!

Actually there is some common ground between the two. After a long winter’s nap our rodent friend, Punxsutawney Phil, pops out of his hole and sees not shadow, but light. The big woodchuck is so delighted to be rid of the cold and winter darkness (renewal) that he emerges ready to begin to living again.

Now Simeon, who had been hanging around this earth for a very long time, was also waiting for the end of winter. He’d been living in the darkness waiting patiently to see, as God promised, the light of salvation. The Christ. When Mary and Joseph finally bring Jesus to the temple for the rite of purification, Simeon is released from the burrow of this life to go and bask in the eternal light of the Father in heaven.

Who’d have thought Phil and Simeon had something in common?

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One response

5 02 2010
daniel tomlinson

I never thought of that. It makes sense in a humorous way, yet the message is deeply profound and comforting.

As a parent I’m constantly reminding my daughter to wait, and as a child my Father does the same for me. Darkness creeps into my thoughts, but I’ve never encountered a moment where it stayed.

Mother Mary no doubt experienced the same epiphany when her Son was taken, as dark as that must have been, but nonetheless she laid her hands on His face before His ascension, and the same Spirit that comforted Her comforts me when the darkness is “overwhelming.”

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