Thomas was born in London and ordained a deacon in 1154; the next year he was made Lord Chancellor and seven years later was made Bishop of Canterbury by King Henry II. He did not agree with the King and went into exile for a time; he returned and again had a disagreement with the King who expressed a wish to be rid of him and so four of the King's men murdered Thomas in the Cathedral in Canterbury. He was quickly declared a saint and Canterbury became a site for pilgrimages.
The first readings this week are from the First Letter of John. Today's Gospel is again from Luke telling us how the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to God in the temple. There they meet Simeon, a devout man awaiting the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him. "It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord." When he took Jesus into his arms he blessed God saying:
Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled;
my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared
in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel."
Mary and Joseph are amazed; Simeon then tells Mary, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted...so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
The whole mystery of the Incarnation is before us during this Christmas season; it is one of joy and gratitude because God sent his only Son to save us; Jesus reveals God to us! We can have a personal relationship with the one who made us and all things. It is easy to let God love us when we are able to believe in his infinite love.