On Sunday, the Patriarch of Romania presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest during which he stressed that the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple refers to the end of a waiting period of the chosen people.
Concelebrants for the February 2 Divine Liturgy included the patriarchal auxiliary bishop Ieronim of Sinaia and the assistant bishop to the Bucharest Archdiocese, Timotei of Prahova.
During his homily, Patriarch Daniel referred to the righteous Elder Simeon and the Prophetess Anna as representatives of the generations of Jews who “actively waited for the coming of the Messiah with hope, faith, obedience and by fulfilling God’s commandments.”
“It was not a vision. It was a concrete, real meeting. The righteous Elder Simeon carried in his arms the Body of God, the Eternal Son who became Man,” the Patriarch stressed on Sunday, February 2.
The Primate of Romania explained that the Jewish tradition to present a male child in the Temple was based on the anticipation of the Messiah.
“The parents presented their male children to the Lord with this hope that through one of these children God would bless the people and the Messiah will come.”
Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace
Referring to Saint Simeon and his words, Patriarch Daniel insisted on the ‘letting’ or the ‘release’ of the Elder who was promised that he would not die until he saw God incarnate.
“He demands the release from the weaknesses of old age since the promise to see with his own eyes the salvation was fulfilled.”
“What does salvation mean? It means man’s union with God so that the mortal man may receive eternal life from the immortal God.”
“Jesus Himself has a name that announces His identity,” the Patriarch went on saying while recalling that the Hebrew name Yeshua means ‘God saves.’
So, Simeon received in his arms the Infant called “God saves” Who brings light “to all people” and is “the glory” of the old Israel but also of New Israel – the Church, explained His Beatitude.
The Romanian Patriarch also pointed to a fact present in the feast’s Akathist Hymn, namely that when the righteous Simeon said “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace” not only did he refer to the fact that he can now die quietly but that “his death will be a transition to eternal life.”
“This ‘release’ from earthly life means his ‘transition’ to eternal or heavenly life. The righteous Simeon goes from old age to eternal gladness in God’s rest and love.”
The Patriarch of Romania also referred to the meanings of the feast day that concern us directly, personally, because “the encounter with God implies a spiritual preparation”.
The Patriarch explained to those present in the Patriarchal Cathedral that the feast of the Meeting the Lord “calls us to welcome Christ” and emphasized that we can receive the Lord and partake of His presence by fasting, praying, observing and fulfilling His words.