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Waiting

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

First Reading: Malachi 3:1-4

Thus says the Lord God:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24:7, 8, 9, 10

R. (8) Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!

Second Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18

Since the children share in blood and flesh,
Jesus likewise shared in them,
that through death he might destroy the one
who has the power of death, that is, the Devil,
and free those who through fear of death
had been subject to slavery all their life.
Surely he did not help angels
but rather the descendants of Abraham;
therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters
in every way,
that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God
to expiate the sins of the people.
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered,
he is able to help those who are being tested.

Gospel: Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
Band you yourself a sword will pierceB
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There was also 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.

NAB

We are all waiting for something, aren’t we? From the mundane to the life-altering. Waiting for him to call, for the house to sell, or depression to lift. But more importantly, as Christians, we are waiting for Jesus, setting our hopes on one day seeing His face.

Fueled by faith, we do our best to prepare ourselves for that day. Walking that narrow path sets you apart in ways you might not have been prepared for. In those early days of conversion, your heart on fire, you didn’t know the loneliness that would result as others, maybe your closest friends, your family, rejected all that you came to hold dear. Labeled you a little bit crazy, or worse, just plain ignorant. Because, maybe you’re going to Adoration on Friday night instead of hanging with friends. Maybe you’re deep into married life and you keep having babies far past a number that’s deemed acceptable (by your parents, even). Sometimes it can feel like no one understands.

I bet Simeon would, and Anna too. I’m guessing that folks back then weren’t much different than folks today. “The Holy Spirit told you that you would see the Messiah?” Right.

But Simeon did! He held Him in his very arms.

We wait in a society that mocks, scorns even, what we hold dear. It hurts. There is pain in that division, a very real ache. But if we can keep our eyes on the Truth, that we will one day behold Jesus ourselves; our joy can shine brighter than all the sadness in the world. I think it can overpower all that divides us from those who don’t understand why we walk this path.

They will see your joy. And somewhere deep inside, they might start to wonder . . . .

Your joy, your faithfulness in the waiting can plant seeds. Our collective waiting, this faith we have been given has the power to change the world. One crazy, Jesus-loving act at a time.

Ginny Sheller lives in Virginia with her husband and eight children. They keep bees, goats, and chickens and rarely have a clean house or a quiet moment. She knits everyday to maintain sanity and takes pictures along the way. You can find out more about her here

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