February 2, 2023
Luke 2: 22-40
It is a way of thanksgiving, that is to say, giving back, returning to God, with gratitude and adoration, the good which we have received from the generosity of this same Master of the Universe. An act of adoration before the experience of the infinite goodness of God. How can we not feel small in this circumstance !
A Jewish couple, both ordinary and exceptional, Joseph and Mary, obey the requirements of the law of Moses. “Every first-born boy shall be consecrated to the Lord”. In response to this obligation, they set out on their way, humbly – they obey.
“And when the days were accomplished for their purification, according to the law of Moses, they brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.”
This is an attitude which encourages us to live our freedom according to the personal plan of God for us. This happens “when the days were accomplished” and not at some other time in the lives of those who are involved in this event, according to their own convenience. God works in order, his plans for each one of us are always ordained, even timed.
This is why Saint Julie teaches and asks us to wait for God’s time, not try to go too quickly by rushing things. Yes, a well-ordered plan, Simeon and Anna. Both lived in the temple, each with a life plan, according to each one’s vocation, the ministry entrusted to each. But then when the time came, it was the Holy Spirit who moved and led them. Each one makes a sudden appearance in that place to play a special role regarding the child.
And this Child is “the consolation of Israel”, according to Simeon. He is this for our world, our people, and for each person in particular. This is why we call upon him for help, we invoke him to intervene, to alleviate or even put an end to all the forms of suffering which overwhelm us: wars, epidemics, famines, persecutions of every kind…
The law of Moses prescribes an offering to accompany the presentation of the Child. This offering has a profound meaning. We may interpret it according to a Kongo proverb which we may translate in this way : “Where good comes from, we do not throw on the ground”.
The offering of our “one and only life” by our consecration of vows, is a permanent expression of our gratitude to God. The event of the birth of our Congregation on February 2, 1804, invites us to live in this continual gratitude to our Good God. And Saint Julie does not stop acclaiming God, according to her style, when she says, “Ah! Qu’il est bon le Bon Dieu! How good is the Good God!”
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