Holy Family

Holy Family

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Feast of Saint Thomas Beckett

Simeon the Elder is filled with joy today,
receiving into his arms the Eternal God as an infant.
Begging to be released from the bonds of the flesh he cries:
"My eyes have seen the salvation,
which You have prepared for all the nations to see!"

                                                                                                                    Troparion—Tone 4

Good morning.  This is the Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas. The Gospel this morning is from the second chapter of Luke (Lk 2:22-35).  Joseph being a righteous person and being good Jewish parents, the story tells of Joseph and Mary presenting their son at the Temple, a ritual required by Judaic law.  Simeon, an Elder, upon blessing the Child Jesus, proclaims to Mary “and you yourself a sword will pierce.”  It is here in the words of Simeon, and in the events of the nativity which we are presently celebrating that we come to see the beginnings of Mary’s role as Mediatrix, as sharing in the suffering of her son Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  Much like our Blessed Mother, as parents we share in the trials and tribulations of our own children, it is part and parcel of being a parent. For most of us such sharing in the suffering of our children is not as considerable as that of Mary’s sharing in the crucifixion, yet nevertheless it is part of what we are called to in our roles as parents; all of us as parents experience a periodic piercing of the heart. None of us can begin to imagine what it was like for our Blessed Mother to stand there at the foot of her Son’s Cross, yet each of us as parents are called to do so in some way. As parents we are called to share in our children’s various sufferings, and although we make every effort to alleviate any suffering our children experience, sometimes we are left only being able to quietly hold them and, like Mary at the foot of the cross, offer to them an unspoken awareness that we share in their pain.  We are reminded today in the words of Saint Thomas Beckett, whose feast day we celebrate, that we are all called to take up our crosses for a greater glory. “Remember how the crown was attained by those whose sufferings gave new radiance to their faith. The whole company of saints bears witness to the unfailing truth that without real effort no one wins the crown.” Like Mary, we share in our children’s journeys and this sometime requires us to share in their sufferings. As parents it is the most intimate and most loving thing we do, it is because the answer to all suffering is love.

Today we recall the life and work of Saint Thomas Beckett, Martyr.

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