There goes Joseph, the silent man who hears God in dreams, and his wife who one day will be the Queen of Heaven. They have no money for a lamb but they present two turtledoves. Was it because they were poor? Yes, they were poor. Joseph was a tekton a simple man who repaired plows, fences, a mix of a carpenter with an ironsmith just like the one who, three decades later, would build the Cross and fashion the iron nails.
They do not have money for a lamb but they present the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Like in a dream they go through the motions without fully knowing what is happening to them.
Many believe that the Temple was built in the same spot where Abraham obediently tried to sacrifice his only son. Climbing the mount, Isaac carried “the wood for the burnt offering” on his back, just like Christ later carried the wood of the Cross. Abraham “carried the fire and the knife.”
Simeon, at the Temple carried the same kind of knife to perform the circumcision designed to receive the Child into the family of Israel. The fire, in the form of the Holy Spirit is burning inside Simeon. All the elements are represented there mixed in the manner of dreams. Joseph the dreamer is now inside a dream just like his ancestor the great-grandson of Abraham who found refuge in Egypt to save Israel.
Abraham was also missing the lamb for the sacrifice at Mount Moriah but God provided a ram that Abraham found “caught in the thicket” right after hearing the voice of the angel. This time the angel whispered to Simeon, revealing to him the Lamb in front of him. Simeon understood the whole thing in a flash when his eyes could finally see the salvation of Israel in the arms of Mary. He saw the Cross and beyond. He contemplated the future conquering of the world by the Eucharist. He, humble Simeon, was going to be the first to draw blood from that body prepared from the foundation of the world to save mankind.
Finally he saw the deepest secret; the pain that one day would pierce that young mother’s heart. Why? Because she was charged with doing the impossible: she had to wish for herself the pains of the Cross. She had to achieve that impossibility for all of us sinful humanity. We who run from suffering and simply cannot enter in full communion with Him Crucified except through Mary’s pierced heart.
Mary, standing there with her Child is the first light of morning touching the eyes of Simeon, the son of Abraham who also believed in God and His promise when it was still dark.