“My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn" (Ps 130:6)
Gospel text (Lk 2:36-40): 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.
What can we learn from this passage about our own lives? We can reflect that Mary and Joseph were faithful to the Jewish traditions as they understood them. We can reflect that Mary and Joseph were chosen from the working class of people who were not distracted by riches and power. We can reflect that Jesus grew as a normal human being – as we do.
He grew in wisdom...and “the favor of God was upon him.” Jesus grew in the wisdom and knowledge of the Father and he fulfilled all the prophecies about him. He was obedient unto death for the love of us.
We also grow in “wisdom” about who we are and what we are supposed to do in life. We are to grow in wisdom and knowledge and actualize the potential God has given each one of us. Today, we can ask ourselves these questions: Why was I born? What am I supposed to do with my life? How should I serve the world?
St. Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man (and woman) fully alive.” How can we be fully alive with all the frailties we observe in ourselves and others? That’s the mystery of our lives. We need to find our unique gifts – among our frailties – all during our lives. When we are young, middle aged, older, whether rich or poor, whether in good health or poor health we are to actualize our unique gifts for the benefit of ourselves and others.
Loving God, help us reflect on our own lives and understand the gifts you have given each one of us. Help us actualize those gifts – no matter what our age – in the service of the poor, the powerless, the sick, their caregivers, those who do not have education. Help us, with your Son, give ourselves in service to the world….All for your greater honor and glory. Amen