Saturday, December 30, 2017
The gospel readings at mass for Dec. 29 and 30 tell the story of the infant Jesus’ being presented in the temple by his parents. The main actor is the holy Simeon, who takes the baby in his arms and prophecies to Mary and Joseph (Lk 2:20-35).
Then Luke following his practice of matching a male character with a female one, even if the female character doesn’t add much to the story, introduces Anna:
There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. (Lk. 2:236 ff)
It seems to me that Anna’s role is different from Simeon’s: While he addresses only Mary and Joseph, she goes further, and “spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”
As I was reading this morning, I came across a little note I’d written to myself in the margin next to the verses about Anna: “How do I speak about Christ to people who are awaiting salvation, who are waiting for Him to come?” I’d left the question unanswered, but there it was, demanding an answer this morning.
“How do I speak about Christ to people who are awaiting salvation, who are waiting for Him to come?”
Do my actions toward others offer them hope that God really does care about them and watches over them?
Does my example of patience, or confident trust in God, speak to people who are looking for Christ to come into their lives?
Does my way of carrying myself speak to others of the boundless love of God for everyone and everything in God’s creation?
Anna’s speaking of Christ to everyone within earshot is a good basis for a new year's resolution: To be sure that my actions every day make it easier for people to believe that God loves them. I have a new class of students starting next Wednesday; I hope I can be Anna for them.
Have a Blessed New Year!