February 2, 2020 – Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/020220.cfm)
The gospel that we have heard today reminds me of the inspiring presence of our grandmothers and fathers in our church. Most of our regular church-goers are the senior citizens. They have developed it into a habit and at the same as a devotion to meet the Lord daily in their life.
In this mass, let us particularly acknowledge their presence in our community and thank them for the witnessing they have shown to us, the younger generation.
The gospel of Luke tells us of these two elderly man and woman, Simeon and Anna respectively. Both of them were patiently waiting to witness the coming of the Christ. They must have experienced boredom and anxiety as they waited for the Lord to come. Yet, all those dull moments, anxiety and even disappointments in the past were all gone at the arrival of the baby Jesus.
Forty days after the birth of Jesus, the baby was brought to the Temple by Mary and Joseph. The coming of Jesus into the Temple was very symbolic. The arrival of Jesus’ presence consecrated the Temple. The Temple is a space where God and the humanity meet. This very space is now consecrated by the very presence of Jesus.
The meeting was further symbolized by the encounter of the Old and the Young, of Simeon and Anna and of the Holy Family. From this encounter, God’s invitations and surprises are being unfolded to us.
Simeon upon meeting the Lord, held the baby Jesus in his arms. He carried Jesus which promoted him to bless God. Simeon must have longed to see the Lord but what was given to him was more than seeing God. He was able to touch and carry the Lord in his arms. He must surely had been overwhelmed, felt unworthy yet drawn towards God at the same time.
This encounter of Simeon with Jesus made him to prophesy. Yet, his vision was entirely based on memory. He remembered that God has promised to be with his people, to send the Messiah. At last Simeon had seen this to come true and seen again how Jesus will become a light for everyone. Jesus is a light who shall illumine every darkness in our hearts and lives.
Moreover, the prophetess Anna would always go to the Temple because of her desire of seeing and meeting the Messiah. For many years, she persisted despite the dull and boring days that she had to spend while waiting for the Messiah to come. However, her faith bore fruit when Jesus arrived. At last, Anna met and encountered the Messiah.
It was not difficult for her to recognize Jesus because her heart was ready and open for his coming. Thus, she immediately recognized the Lord and was delighted for that encounter. That encounter too changed her life completely.
From these encounters on this Feast of the Presentation of Lord, there two invitations for us.
First, like Simeon, let us allow God to encounter us that we may be able to hold him in our arms. Holding God in our arms is more than feeling his presence but being convinced of his presence in our life. To hold God in our arms also means to be in touched with God, with ourselves and with what surrounds us that include our brothers and sisters and rest of God’s creation. To hold God is to be welcoming to all.
Second, like Anna, let us always desire to meet God whenever and wherever we are at this very moment. Let us remember, if we desire to encounter God, God desires it all the more to encounter us. And may our encounter with Jesus cast out our anxiety, boredom and doubts for his presence brings us joy, freshness and life.
Like them, we may become convinced in what we believe by translating our faith not just into words but also concrete actions of love and kindness. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR