Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Holy Family

Luke 2:22-40

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Edna Maier

Published: December 28, 2014

Read 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... Read More…


The star of wonder, star of light, star of royal beauty bright, continues to shine through today’s Scripture message. That star is not mentioned in this Gospel. It is invisible to the eye. But it shines a special blessing upon Jesus, Mary and Joseph, during their ordinary yet extraordinary visit to Jerusalem according to the law. 

Among the people present that day in the Temple were an assortment of folks with ordinary reasons for being there. For them, it was business as usual. But there were two others there, Simeon and Anna, whose business was unusual! God was in their minds and hearts as they were wondering, watching, and waiting for the promised one. They wondered in faith. They watched in hope. They waited in love. They believed.
Let us focus on Simeon.  He was truly a man of God. The Holy Spirit had rested on him and revealed to him that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  What a wonderful promise!  It was unusual in those days. But I believe it is much more usual in these days.  Several of my dearest friends have gone home to God in the past few months. I believe they had experienced the promise given to Simeon.  It did not stop my tears of grieving. In fact, in the words of Scripture, my tears had become my bread, as I mourned their passing. Today we celebrate Simeon’s gift of seeing Jesus, holding Him in his arms, and singing in celebration of the Gift that he had been promised.  Isn’t this a gift from God which we can accept for ourselves? Isn’t this a gift we can offer to others whose homecoming to God might be imminent? Today, the Holy Spirit reminds me that there is a Simeon in each of us, blessed with promises that will come true as we wonder, watch, wait, and believe.
Anna, the prophetess, has a different story, a different situation.  Her married life had only lasted seven years and she remained a widow to the age of eighty-four. She lived a life of prayer and fasting and worshipped daily in the Temple. I think of her as an early contemplative. There is no mention of a promise to Anna in today’s Gospel.  But her meeting with the Holy Family on that day of Presentation called forth from her heartfelt being a blessing of glory and praise for all those gathered to hear and to ponder. The ways of God to us and our ways to God vary with our myriad ways of being human, our many ways of being friend, and our many ways of being family.  We are family by birth. We are family by choice. We are a family of believers.  We are a family by ministry. We are a family by interest levels: writers, artists, mechanics, caregivers, students, etc. We probably belong to multiple families. There are so many channels by which we bless and are blessed. May we be blessed among women and men, like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and Simeon and Anna who knew how to believe and to love. May their promises of the past become our promises of the present, always remembering that WE ARE FAMILY! Blessings and Love to you during these Christmas Days and always!

The star of wonder, star of light, star of royal beauty bright, continues to shine through today’s Scripture message. That star is not mentioned in this Gospel. It is invisible to the eye. But it shines a special blessing upon Jesus, Mary and Joseph, during their ordinary yet extraordinary visit to Jerusalem according to the law.

Among the people present that day in the Temple were an assortment of folks with ordinary reasons for being there. For them, it was business as usual. But there were two others there, Simeon and Anna, whose business was unusual! God was in their minds and hearts as they were wondering, watching, and waiting for the promised one. They wondered in faith. They watched in hope. They waited in love. They believed.

Let us focus on Simeon. He was truly a man of God. The Holy Spirit had rested on him and revealed to him that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. What a wonderful promise! It was unusual in those days. But I believe it is much more usual in these days. Several of my dearest friends have gone home to God in the past few months. I believe they had experienced the promise given to Simeon. It did not stop my tears of grieving. In fact, in the words of Scripture, my tears had become my bread, as I mourned their passing. Today we celebrate Simeon’s gift of seeing Jesus, holding Him in his arms, and singing in celebration of the Gift that he had been promised. Isn’t this a gift from God which we can accept for ourselves? Isn’t this a gift we can offer to others whose homecoming to God might be imminent? Today, the Holy Spirit reminds me that there is a Simeon in each of us, blessed with promises that will come true as we wonder, watch, wait, and believe.

Anna, the prophetess, has a different story, a different situation. Her married life had only lasted seven years and she remained a widow to the age of eighty-four. She lived a life of prayer and fasting and worshipped daily in the Temple. I think of her as an early contemplative. There is no mention of a promise to Anna in today’s Gospel. But her meeting with the Holy Family on that day of Presentation called forth from her heartfelt being a blessing of glory and praise for all those gathered to hear and to ponder. The ways of God to us and our ways to God vary with our myriad ways of being human, our many ways of being friend, and our many ways of being family. We are family by birth. We are family by choice. We are a family of believers. We are a family by ministry. We are a family by interest levels: writers, artists, mechanics, caregivers, students, etc. We probably belong to multiple families. There are so many channels by which we bless and are blessed. May we be blessed among women and men, like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and Simeon and Anna who knew how to believe and to love. May their promises of the past become our promises of the present, always remembering that WE ARE FAMILY! Blessings and Love to you during these Christmas Days and always!

 

 

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