Gospel: Lk 2: 36-40
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. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
TWO MODELS TO FOLLOW: As Christians today, we are given two models to imitate. The life of Anna was centered around the temple. She was praying, fasting and speaking about the Messiah. The youthhood of Jesus is summarized saying that he was growing strong, filled with wisdom and in favor with God. These two personages are our models today. Like Anna, our lives need to be center around the people of God, especially the needy. Prayer, fasting and proclaiming Jesus need to be part of our daily life. Like Jesus, we need to look for ways to care for our body, to grow in wisdom and to be in good relationship with God. Let us live according to the expectations of God. Through this, we also become good models to those around us.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, give us your grace so that our lives will be models to others.
WITH HIM IS THE BEST TIME: John’s words overflow with affectionate appreciation. “I am writing to you fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning” (1 Jn 2: 13). But his words are dotted with caution. He warns the faithful always be on the lookout for God’s will as against the fleeting attractions of the world that may cloud the vision. Anna is an example of a believer who spends her time in single minded devotion to God. She lived near the temple, not just physical presence to God’s temple but “she lived in God.” “She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day” (Lk 2: 37). A seeker has his gaze focused on God and his attention is never diverted. The time spent in God’s presence doesn’t bore him. His misfortunes or hard realities that he faces, do not disturb Him. It is in constant contact with God and living in continuous communication with God that we transcend our pains. Let us not think of Him as distant and detached, but a God who dwells within.
RESPONSE TO AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD: Today’s gospel text is the continuation of yesterday’s. Luke has a habit of creating a sequel to a man’s story with a woman’s. In Chapter 8, after mentioning the twelve (who were men) Luke mentions also the women disciples of Jesus. In Luke 15, the story of the man who lost his sheep is followed by the story of the woman who lost her coin. In Luke 2, the appearance of the prophet Simeon is followed by the arrival of Anna. There are so many details about Anna’s background in the gospel narrative. However, what is important is to pay attention to what she did after she encountered Jesus: she gave thanks to God, the vertical dimension of an encounter with God; and “she spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem,” the horizontal dimension of the encounter. As we have encountered God during this Christmas, what is our response?