December 30, 2020 – Wednesday 6th Day in the Octave of Christmas
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/123020.cfm)
During the Season of Advent, we have been invited to wait patiently and to long lovingly God’s coming. The season was to prepare our hearts and minds to consciously welcome the Lord and celebrate fully the day of his birth.
In today’s Gospel, we were told about Prophetess Anna who had been waiting and longing for the birth of the Messiah. This old and wise woman, Anna never waivered and never stopped waiting and longing for God’s coming. In those many years of waiting, she must have endured many boring, tiring and heartbreaking days of waiting. Yet, Anna persisted to be in the Temple day after day, to pray, to fast and to at last behold the face of God. Her patience and her persistence indeed bore fruit because God granted her longing.
Anna at last saw the face of God. She must have been filled with so much joy. When that day came, it was not difficult for her to recognize Jesus, because her heart always longed for him. Her instinct and her heart guided her towards God.
She reminds me of the presence our senior citizens who are mostly our regular church goers. They are mostly the first ones to arrive and those who sit near the altar. At the beginning of this lockdown due to Covid-19, Senior Citizens were strongly discouraged to come to Church. Others even imposed strict prohibition to them. Being a Parish Administrator in my previous assignment, I also imposed such measure in my parish as a response to the health protocols imposed by the City.
However, this has become a great longing in the hearts of many senior citizens whose only desire is to be in the Church and celebrate the Eucharist. This was something also that I did not understand at that time – of that longing to meet the Lord, to receive God, to embrace the Lord and to be embraced by Him in our sacraments.
Prophetess Anna reminds us to always long for God because this makes our day filled with hope and filled with joy. To long for God is characterized by our prayer which Anna also showed us by not leaving the Temple. Anna dedicated her life after being widowed in prayer and in fasting. This was her own way of serving God. This prayerful attitude of Anna made her to become a powerful witness of God’s action in the lives of many. By being conscious of God in her life, Anna also saw how Go worked in the lives of those people she encountered in the Temple
This was how Anna recognized the Lord. In her awareness of God’s presence in Jesus, Anna teaches us now of two important lessons from the Gospel.
First, to always long for God. Our longing for God, grants us discernment and wisdom. To discern is to be able to feel God’s presence, thus, guiding us to know God’s desire. Wisdom will allow us to recognize the Spirit of God hovering over us, leading us to where God wants us to be. By being able to know and feel the Spirit of God allows us to celebrate Christmas every day.
Second, pray for others and pray with others. This will help us become more aware of God’s wonderful actions in our life and in the lives of those who are around us. This awareness helps us to respond to God rather than to react. A response is a conscious action towards God and others characterized by our willingness and generosity. A reaction is rather an unconscious action that would come sometimes from our strong negative emotions. By making our generous response to God and to those who are in need, this allows us to encounter and meet the Lord.
May these invitations lead us to God and lead us to that awareness that God has come and visited us. Like Anna, let us also preach to others what we have seen and experienced in God. Hinaut pa.