“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting 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 would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit 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: ‘Now you are letting your servant depart (Νῦν ἀπολύεις τὸν δουλόν σου) in peace, Master (Δέσποτα), according to your word; For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Lk 2: 25-32)
In his well-known “song” or “canticle,” St. Simeon does not address God as “Lord” (Kyrie), but as “Master” (Despota), which is a term used in Scripture only rarely for God, and most often for the masters of slaves. In fact, Simeon is using the language used at the emancipation of a slave, when he sings this light-filled “song“ at his encounter with the Word made flesh. The faithful servant, Simeon, was now being released from the long “night“ of keeping watch, and waiting for the Sun to come up, so he could go home. The elderly priest, Simeon, was now encountering the High Priest of his salvation, Who enables Simeon’s “Apolysis,“ that is, “Dis-missal“ or “Release“ (отпустъ) to exit his temple.
Today, as NC-people celebrate the Meeting of the Lord, let me have all my “exits“ enlightened by Christ’s liberating presence. Whether I’m exiting my bed in the morning, or exiting the day and preparing for bed in the evening, or exiting the house to go to church or vice-versa, – let me embrace Christ, in some heartfelt prayer. He releases me from self-centered circles, and opens to me the Way of the Cross. He is my Door, Who opens my “now“ to the next right thing, as He promises: “I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (Jn 10: 9)