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Fourth Sunday

His sorrow when he heard the prophecy of Simeon;
his joy when he learned that many would be saved
through the sufferings of Jesus.

Introductory Prayer

O most faithful Saint Joseph,
who shared the mysteries of our redemption,
the prophecy of Simeon,
touching the sufferings of Jesus and Mary,
caused you to shudder with mortal dread
but at the same time filled you with a blessed joy
for the salvation and glorious resurrection
that would be attained by countless souls.

By this sorrow and this joy,
obtain for us that we may be
of the number of those who,
through the merits of Jesus
and the intercession of Mary the Virgin Mother,
are predestined to a glorious resurrection.

Reading Lk 2:22-35

And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
according to thy word;
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation
which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to thy people Israel."

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."


"This rite, to which Luke refers, includes the ransom of the firstborn and sheds light on the subsequent stay of Jesus in the Temple at the age of twelve.

"The ransoming of the firstborn is another obligation of the father, and it is fulfilled by Joseph. Represented in the firstborn is the people of the covenant, ransomed from slavery in order to belong to God. Here, too, Jesus-who is the true ‘price' of ransom (cf. 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; 1 Pt 1:19)-not only ‘fulfills' the Old Testament rite, but at the same time transcends it, since he is not a subject to be redeemed, but the very author of redemption.

"The gospel writer notes that ‘his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him' (Lk 2:23), in particular at what Simeon said in his canticle to God, when he referred to Jesus as the ‘salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel' and as a ‘sign that is spoken against' (cf. Lk 2:30-34)."9

"‘It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will (cf. Eph 1:9). His Will was that all should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and, thus become sharers in the divine nature (cf. Eph 2:18; 2 Pt 1:4)'10

"Together with Mary, Joseph is the first guardian of this divine mystery. Together with Mary, and in relation to Mary, he shares in this final phase of God‘s self-revelation in Christ, and he does so from the very beginning."11

Here the Litany of St. Joseph (p. 543 f.) may be prayed, as a conclusion. Or the following prayer may be said.

Concluding Prayer

V. Pray for us, blessed Joseph,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Almighty God,
in your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

9. GR, 13.
10. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dei Verbum, 5.
11. GR, 5.