December 31, 2023
Luke 2: 22-40
The Gospel presents to us Mary and Joseph, Anna, Simeon and Jesus, in the temple. Perhaps, the question is, what made them congregate in the Temple of the Lord?
Mary and Joseph yearned to go to Jerusalem as the Law prescribed; they were obedient to the Law. How obedient are we to the Law of the Lord? Mary and Joseph obeyed the Law to an extent of giving their only Son back to God as a sacrificial victim. How often are we generous toward God, and his people, can we even give ourselves to the Lord as instruments for the Kingdom?
In the Jewish culture, circumcision was a symbol of purity, and as such Jesus was circumcised to give a true symbol of purity. This gesture also confirmed Jesus for the mission he had been sent. Do we realize our mission as Christians? We are baptized and confirmed in the Holy Spirit so that we become pure vessels and instruments for the proclamation of the Kingdom of God as Jesus did.
In the Holy Spirit through baptism, we are made pure and yearn for the Lord, as Simeon did. The attitude of Simeon must permeate every Christian, a true disposition towards which we experience the Lord in his Word and Sacraments so that together with Simeon we may say, “Master, you may let your servant go in peace”. This acclamation is only said by people who are pure, and ready for the will of God in their life. What are our dispositions toward the Lord?
Brethren, we are living in a thorn society and era, families are broken, parents no longer play their role as models to their children, and children are corrupted by the current affairs. The will and the desire for the house of the Lord are but just imagination for this generation. The First Family, therefore, is presented to us as a challenge. Mary and Joseph took Jesus along to the House of the Lord; how many of parents and guardians today who encourage and go with their young to experience the Lord? How many families who seat together to share the Word of God? And how many of us like Anna devote themselves in fasting and prayer, not only to pray for oneself; but for the conversion of the people of God. We have experienced and are experiencing wars, disputes, loss of human dignity and the sanctity of life; how often do we pray as individuals and as families that the will of God be done here and now in us.
It is everyone’s duty and call to initiate our brothers and sisters to the purity of heart, and to conversion. The Catholic Church teaches that parents have a significant duty of raising children and to educate them. How do parents raise and educate their offspring? Mary and Joseph were set by God as the standard of all families because of their model, and the true reflection of God’s love. God’s love which overwhelmed the Holy Family is the first step towards the love of God.
Mary and Joseph raised Jesus with integrity and honor, and through the Holy Spirit, Jesus comes as the light of the World to give sight to this blinded world and generation. This is a wonderful gift God has given to humanity; Christ becomes the light through his Word which always informs human will to go along the paths of eternal life. And as we pursue this way to eternal life, the prayer of the synod on synodality encourages us to pursues ways that are worthy of our calling in our distinctive lifestyle and families.
Jesus was presented to God, and as such he becomes the symbol of the sacrificial lamb; and ourselves too, as we strive towards the Kingdom of God, we are destined for the fall and rise of many among the people of God. Let me urge you my brothers and sisters, not everyone likes us, not everyone is happy that we are Christians or a family though not perfect, in one way or another, people around us will pursue to make us fall like Jesus, but let us not lose focus. Jesus is our example, imagine if only Jesus gave up during his time of rejection, persecution and trials, what world would it be without moral principles?
Luke 2: 22-40
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
“Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, 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. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted –and you yourself a sword will pierce– so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also 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.
The Gospel of the Lord