To receive this high dignity, only one thing is required of us

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit! Dear brothers and sisters, today we celebrate the glorious and joyous feast of the Meeting of the Lord. This feast is so named because the righteous elder Symeon, living in Jerusalem, met in the Jerusalem Temple the forty-day-old Youth our Lord Jesus Christ with His Most Pure Mother. This sacred event is described by the Evangelist Luke (See Lk. 2:22-40). This is a wondrous narration, brothers and sisters.

But let’s draw our attention now to the words: And Symeon blessed them, and said unto Mary His Mother: Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against

Disputes about Christ began immediately upon His birth. Angels and good people greeted His birth with jubilation and doxology, seeing in Him the joy and glory of Israel, while others, along with Herod, sought to kill Him. With the preaching of His Gospel Christ heralds to man the Divine truth and the holy law of love and good deeds. And what do we see? Some accept His teaching, beholding His deeds with reverence and becoming His disciples, but others become embittered against Him and spread their enmity and hatred for Him, to the point of condemning Him to terrible suffering and nailing Him to the Cross. His saving death and glorious Resurrection did not end the division of people into saved and damned: some of the witnesses of His suffering and death came to their senses and were saved, but others perished in their bitterness…

And in our time, as in all times, Christ is the cause of falling for some, and or others for their rising, and He serves as a sign to be spoken against. It is worthy of tears, brothers and sisters, that our sweetest Lord, coming to give men happiness and joy, laying down His priceless life out of love for mankind, becomes a cause of conflict, triggering the most genuine of animosity in some. Christ lies in the path of all men, occupying in human life and destiny such a position that wherever people go, they certainly meet Him, and having met Him, they either rise up, grounded upon Him, or they stumble because of Him and fall. Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many—not only in Israel, but for all mankind; He was a subject of controversy not only for His contemporaries, but for people of all times and nations.

Righteous Symeon who lived for 360 years… saw the salvation of the world, and therefore he quietly and peacefully welcomed his peaceful death. But that each of us would be able to sing such a song at death, we must become God-Receivers and God-Bearers.

That means, for us to receive this high dignity, only one thing is required of us: that we love Christ and observe His holy commandments and not lock up our hearts when He comes to us knocking, or through His word being sent down for our correction, or through some sorrow

Let us, brothers and sisters, strive for this high honor. Let us manifest our love for the Lord by the observance of His holy commandments, that the Lord might build Himself a bright habitation in our hearts, that we might become God-Bearers in our lives, and that at our departure from this temporal life to life immortal and eternal we might be able to sing from our whole heart like Righteous Symeon: Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.

Archimdrite Kirill (Pavlov), “A Homily on the Meeting of the Lord” /excerpt from the Homily/