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February 2, 2019 Featured

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book PNG2112Gospel: Luke 2:22-40 (or Luke 2:22-32)
When the day came for the purification according to the law of Moses, they brought the baby up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to God. And they offered a sacrifice, as ordered in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.There lived in Jerusalem, at this time, a very upright and devout man named Simeon; the Holy Spirit was in him. He looked forward to the time when the Lord would comfort Israel; and he had been assured, by the Holy Spirit, that he would not die before seeing the Messiah of the Lord.

So, he was led into the temple by the Holy Spirit at the time the parents brought the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law. Simeon took the child in his arms, and blessed God, saying, “Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, for you have fulfilled your word and my eyes have seen your salvation, which you display for all the people to see. Here is the light you will reveal to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.” His father and mother wondered at what was said about the child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, “Know this: your son is a sign; a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband; and since then, she had been continually about the temple,serving God, as a widow, night and day, in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty­-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God, and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem. When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There, the child grew in stature and strength, and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.

Reflections
“Now, O Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace"

Mary and Joseph brought their infant Jesus to be consecrated to God in the temple in Jerusalem. Because they were poor folk they offered only two pigeons as a blood sacrifice. Yet two witnesses saw something different. The old man Simeon, who had been as­sured that he would not die before seeing the Messiah, took the child in his arms and delivered a pro­phetic discourse. The other wit­ness is a“prophetess”named Anna who had hung around the Temple anxiously awaiting some sign of Israel’s Redeemer. Although no words are attributed to Anna, there is a similar sense of fulfill­ment in her story. Beyond Jesus’ immediate family, she is the first woman to be granted such insight into the divine mystery concealed in these humble beginnings. And she is the first to proclaim this good news to those like herself— poor and of no account—who live by faith and wait in hope.We may not see the fulfillment of all God’s promises in our life­ time—a world at peace, conflict resolved, humanity no longer in conflict with the earth. But each small victory is a down­payment on that  day. Those  who  live  in faith and hope must remember to celebrate such small victories.

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