by Pam Tinsley
This year is one of those infrequent occasions when the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple falls on a Sunday (February 2), and we hear the story from Luke’s gospel about the Holy Family’s encounter with Simeon and Anna. The Holy Family has made the long journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem to fulfill their religious obligation. Simeon and Anna have spent decades in faithful prayer as they await the Messiah, yet then they immediately recognize that the baby in his mother’s arms is the Messiah. Anna and Simeon rejoice, blessing God for this astonishing revelation!
We might be inclined to consider Simeon, Anna, and the Holy Family to be inspiring. How can we, in 2020, relate to such pious individuals? How can we even begin to emulate such saintly lives?
Yet, the foundation for Simeon, Anna and the Holy Family’s faithfulness is also the foundation for our own faith lives. Like Anna and Simeon, we base our lives on prayer, worship, and the apostles’ teaching. We also live our lives with the support of our Christian community. These spiritual practices nurture our relationship with God and help us discern how God is calling us to minister in our daily lives.
As faithful Christians, we are called to do this because we are partners with God in God’s divine work of salvation. Just as Anna and Simeon see Christ in a lowly, baby boy, we’re called to see Christ in others – in all others. Just as Simeon blessed the baby Jesus, we’re called to bless others.
At baptism, we are joined to Christ and blessed. We are also sent into the world with Jesus’ message of love, peace and unity to serve as bearers of Christ’s light and blessing among all people. Our light and blessing are needed all the more in a hurting world, especially during these times when we hold too tightly to an “us vs. them” mentality.
So, I ask you: Who is that one person you will bless this week?