The Gospel Today
The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Luke 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 (Sem. Rodel Aclan):
The Gospel reading today spoke about the end of waiting of a holy woman, Anna who was a holy woman and a prophetess. She spent most of her life in the temple waiting for the promised Christ of Israel. But, there is nothing ordinary in her waiting for everybody in Israel knew and were also waiting for the Christ that they believed will deliver them from the hands of the Roman occupying forces. What caught my attention in this Gospel passage is the action of Anna while she was waiting for the Christ. She was in the temple praising and worshipping God day and night for many years until she saw and held Jesus in her arms. And immediately she recognized that Jesus is the Christ that she was waiting for. As I look at myself and my experiences in the past, I too, in one way or another was waiting for something from God. It may be an answer to my prayers or simply waiting for God to act in my life and let His will happen to me. But unlike the prophetess Anna, who worshipped and praised God while waiting, I instead, was impatient most of the time. I wanted an immediate result or answer from God. Because of this, my waiting became burdensome to me. I am sure Anna never got bored or impatient in her long years of waiting because she filled herself of God and not of the many negative things around her, from the busy and noisy convergence of people who were pre-occupied by the worries of this world. I think that is the right attitude that we must have while we continue to journey in this life, we must fill ourselves with the presence of God by being pre-occupied with actions and other matters relating to God. However, in filling and pre–occupying ourselves of God and matters relating to God we must not do it as an antidote for boredom and dullness of waiting. Rather, we must realize and feel the love of God for us. In such a way that whatever is His answer to us, that is for best for us. What I am saying is that we fill ourselves of God as an expression of our trust in His love for us.
Anna, immediately recognized Jesus as the Christ that she has been waiting for. As I reflect on this account in the Gospel, I was prompted to recollect the times that I was able to recognized Jesus. I asked myself “Do I recognize Him in the persons of beggars, disabled and imprisoned?”, Unfortunately, I felt shame for the times when I was not able to recognize Him among the least fortunate. More often, I find reason or justification not to extend help of at least show compassion to them. As we are still in the season of Christmas, I believe that God is inviting me to once again recognize Jesus in the persons of the poor and the underprivileged. I realized that we celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble manger every year so that we would always be reminded that He is being born again in the persons of others especially the weak and the poor. Lastly, we can only recognize Jesus in the face of others if we are in constant union with God by giving praise and worship to Him, like the holy woman in the temple, who worshipped God day and night and trustingly waited for the coming of Christ.