Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"A Sign of Contradiction"

" Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Look, he is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed - and a sword will pierce your soul too - so that the secret thoughts of many will be laid bare.'"(Luke 2: 33-35)NJB

Mary heard explicitly the prophecy of the part she was to play in the life and death of the 'suffering servant of Yahweh.' The sword which would pierce the heart of Jesus would not spare that of Mary. Mary must have repeated her words at the annunciation: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word."

The Church expounds in The Documents of Vatican II (Lumen Gentium): "When Mary presented Jesus to the Lord in the temple, making the offering of the poor, she heard Simeon foretelling at the same time that her Son would be a sign of contradiction and that a sword would pierce the mother's soul, that out of many hearts thoughts might be revealed" (cf Luke 2:34-35).

I tried to lookup the word CONTRADICTION and found the following:

Synonyms:
bucking, conflict, confutation, contravention, defiance, denial, difference, disagreement, discrepancy, dispute, dissension, gainsaying, incongruity, inconsistency, negation, opposite, opposition

Antonyms:
agreement, correspondence, corroboration

Why should Christ Jesus be a sign of conflict instead of agreement, a sign of dissension instead of corroboration? Why would the gentle Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace be a sign that is opposed everywhere? Look at the cross! Has the cross not always been a sign of conflict, denial and opposition? Always and everywhere?

When Simeon blessed the infant Jesus and his parents in the Temple, he said to Mary, his mother, "Look, he is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed - and a sword will pierce your soul too - so that the secret thoughts of many will be laid bare."(Luke 2: 33-35)

This is what Jesus said himself about his mission: ""I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two aganist three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." (Luke 12: 49 - 53)

Jesus Christ sees his mission as divisive, that is, a sign of contradiction. The Holy Spirit warns the Church not to conform to the world. The temptation is always there for the Church to think that if she conforms to the world, her message will be less divisive and therefore more acceptable. 2000 years of Church history has not validated this thinking.

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