December 30, 2019

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. Reflection 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. At the arrival of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus in the temple, Anna felt compelled to give witness to the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy that God would send a Savior to redeem His people from their sins. 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. The origin of the word “redemption” comes from Latin and literally means to “buy back.” At the sight of the infant Jesus, Anna knew that God had sent His Anointed One to rescue Israel from the error of their ways. In the wisdom of her years, Anna “gave thanks.” 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. Christmas, with all it’s modern-day hustle and bustle, has come and gone. The tinsel and needles are falling from the tree. But the truth remains. With the birth of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, we are about to enter the season of Epiphany; “the illuminating manifestation” that we have been redeemed, “bought back.” As Anna gave thanks to God over two thousand years ago, let us too give thanks to Jesus for giving His life as ransom for us, for “buying us back,” for saving us from the consequences of our sins. “A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.”                  Mahatma Gandhi