The Gospel for the Mass for the 5th Day in the Octave of Christmas is Luke 2:22-35. 

God selected holy and observant Jews to be the parents of His Son. Joseph and Mary presented Jesus for circumcision and naming eight days after the Nativity and now fulfill their next religious obligation: the purification after-birth rituals (Lev 12) for Mary and the ceremonial presentation of their first born son 40 days after birth (Exod 13:11-16). Even though Mary is Immaculate and remains miraculously a virgin even after the birth of Christ, she nevertheless presents herself for purification to fulfill and Law and avoid scandal. The presentation of Christ fulfills the obligation for a Jewish first-born male, consecrating Him to the Lord. Mary and Joseph’s offering (two small birds) meet the requirements of the poor; Christ is counted among the poor He comes to save. 

Simeon, a devout old man, has long waited for God’s promise that he would see  Israel’s salvation; the sight of Christ fulfills God’s promise to Simeon and he is moved to prophesey. Simeon’s hymn, called the Nunc Dimittis (Latin, “now dismissed”), confirms Simeon may die in peace and joy, knowing Israel’s promised salvation has come. Beyond Simeon’s comprehension, he is given the profound blessing of holding God in his arms.  

Simeon’s prophecy is a bittersweet consolation to Mary and Joseph. Simeon reveals Christ’s mission of salvation to the world and he blesses the couple, giving Mary and Joseph joy.  But Simeon also reveals the coming Judgment Christ will bring upon the people and that Mary will suffer deep sorrow (“a sword will pierce through your own soul”), causing Mary and Joseph sadness. Simeon, an instrument of God’s grace, prepares and strengthens Mary and Joseph for their coming trials. 

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ’s divinity is revealed to Simeon, a devout old man who God prepared for a lifetime to offer his exaltation.  Son of Mary and Son of Joseph, Christ sends Simeon to give His parents consolation. Divine Mercy, Christ allows Simeon to both witness and proclaim His coming salvation. 

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Luke’s Infancy Narrative, which come from the Virgin Mary’s recollections, are full of mysterious revelations. Be awed by Christ’s preparation of Simeon (God had promised Simeon that he would see the Christ) and how Christ’s divinity is recognized by Simeon.  

2) In God’s infinite wisdom, He desires that all men have the blessing of a mother (and father!).  Mothers, like all humans, are prone to sin and fail their children in various ways, sometimes causing deep wounds; and all mothers eventually die. In the Blessed Virgin, Christ has given the Church a perfect mother who never fails to love those who come to her. During Christmastime, realize your deep need to grow in Devotion to the Virgin Mary (CCC 963-975) and pray for Christ to help you imitate His perfect love for His Holy Mother.         

3) Simeon prophesizes that Christ will be the cause “the fall and rising of many.” During Christmastime, reflect upon the need for a regular Examination of Conscience (CCC 1454), conduct a rigorous Examine and go to Confession, praying that Christ helps you to continually rise towards sainthood and Heaven.