Homily: When All Things Come Together

    ‘When you hear a child ask why the sun comes and goes and does not stay all the time,  tell the child because unless there was also dark, there would be no light without the dark.’ – Mago de Oz

February 2nd marks exactly 40 days after Christmas and it is the focal point for two religious events in the life of a young Jewish family. 40 days after the birth of a child, a young Jewish mother was expected to go to the temple for a purification ritual. It was thought childbirth somehow made her unclean, and she was to be restored to pristine holiness.  It is a custom that carried over in our own Catholic ritual until just the last century. It was called the ‘churching’ of women, and our grandmothers would have remembered it as one more vestige of a spotty past in our attitudes towards women that, thank God, we have seen as flawed and have outgrown.

Today also marks the reminder that first-born males in the Jewish community were ‘presented’, or offered back to the Lord, a reminder of how God spared the first-born of the Israelites at the Exodus when he struck down the first-born of the Egyptians. And when Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus, enter the temple, they encounter two old people, Simeon and Anna, among those old seers and prophets who hung around holy places, even to this day..

Psychologist Carl Jung taught that, in the world, time brings a balance of synchronicity, when all the right forces converge, as it were, and come together in one place. Carl would jump up for joy in this scenario today that his theory is proven true.  Why are all these people converging at just this right moment?  Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, and baby Jesus.

Jung says that synchronicity is never accidental.  It is a force of basic reality, stuff that brings things and people together for meaning.  He does not say what that stuff is.  But Luke does.  He tells us that the Holy Spirit guided Simeon.  Simeon and Anna were mystics.  They saw what others were not seeing, not even Joseph and Mary. They saw a light, but one that must first come through the darkness of opposition, the sign that will be contradicted and through Mary’s pierced heart.

It is not only the Spanish music group Mago de Oz that knows there is no light without the dark.  We too see and experience it, if we look closely and admit to it.  Let us be Simeon; let us be Anna; let us be Mago de Oz.  On this day we commemorate Jesus being presented in the temple.  But every day people are presented to us, strangers out of darkness.  Let us see the light in each other.

Because of the darkness that shadows so many of us, we are afraid to look up to see anything.  But there is always light piercing the dark. So we can be brave.  It is as simple as this: two strangers enter the same room, or the same church, at the same time, from opposite doors.  Their eyes meet.  And the world is never the same.

There is a Haiku poem that goes: In dark no terror. A pin spot point of light, see.   Now life days enough.


1 Comment

  1. Dave Ome

    Fri 31st Jan 2014 at 4:19 pm

    When I was in high school, there was a best-selling album by the rock group “The Police” entitled “Synchronicity.” There were a couple of songs which dealt with this psychological concept by Jung. Interesting stuff.

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