I am struck by the contradictions in the story. Not unlike the contradictions and contrasts of life. We rise, we fall. The same circumstance can invite some people’s flourishing and others languishing. Simeon announces that Jesus, this anointed One, will comfort or console the nations. And then in the next breath he utters bitter news to Mary. A sword will pierce her life. One of the many sorrows this Mother will endure. Harsh news comes unexpectedly. And with the phone call, the letter, the visit, the email we are startled, shocked. It’s like a promise turned on its head – a promise of pain, grief and turmoil. These Simeon moments (as Joyce Rupp calls them) are a part of life and we cannot avoid them. And we cannot plan for the hurt that may await us in the future because of an unwanted pronouncement. Joyce Rupp in Your Sorrow in my Sorrow
The wonder of this Lukan text is that just at that moment Anna moves toward the young family. Anna an elder, wise from enduring her own suffering, encounters Mary at a crucial time. Anna comes as a source of strength for Mary. The Spirit moves people into our lives as we are in need.