I would like to follow on from my words from last week, and Archbishop Mark’s call for the Archdiocese to make Pope Francis’ The Joy of the Gospel the charter for our pastoral direction. Early on in the Pope’s document he addresses how the Church is “to go forth,” to be a missionary body in our world, and so be a body that transforms our world. He says, in part:
The word of God constantly shows us how God challenges those who believe in him “to go forth”. Abraham received the call to set out for a new land (cf. Gen 12:1-3). Moses heard God’s call: “Go, I send you” (Ex 3:10) and led the people towards the promised land (cf. Ex 3:17). To Jeremiah God says: “To all whom I send you, you shall go” (Jer 1:7). In our day Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples” echoes in the changing scenarios and ever new challenges to the Church’s mission of evangelization, and all of us are called to take part in this new missionary “going forth”. Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel.
The Gospel joy which enlivens the community of disciples in a missionary joy. The seventy-two disciples felt it as they returned from their mission (cf Lk 10:17). Jesus felt it when he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and praised the Father for revealing himself to the poor and the little ones (cf. Luke 10:21). …This joy is a sign that the Gospel has been proclaimed and is bearing fruit. Yet the drive to go forth and give, to go out from ourselves, to keep pressing forward in our sowing of the good see, remains ever present.
This same joy is present in Simeon who we hear about, and from, in the Gospel today.
Simeon has been waiting a long time for the fulfilment of the promise that he will see salvation with his own eyes. He is prompted by the Spirit to get up and go to the Temple, and there he takes the child Jesus in his arms, blesses God and sings with joy that the promise made to him is fulfilled: My eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see!
Likewise, this gift of salvation is given to us, so that we too might get up and go to transform our world.