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Gospel                                                                                    Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification 
according to the law of Moses, 
They took him 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 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 
—and you yourself a sword will pierce— 
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.

Upon Reflection

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Feast of the Holy Family (Year B)

Teach Your Children Well!

 

Upon Reflection:   Jesus going to Jerusalem is a major theme in the Gospel according to Luke.  Today, we hear about his first trip to Jerusalem with his parents as an infant.  There he is presented, as was prescribed by the Law, while both Simeon and Anna had nothing but hopeful and great things to say about him. 

 

He would return to Jerusalem with his parents every year for the feast of Passover according to Luke, but his last visit would not yield such positivity from those in the Temple as did his first. 

 

I figure it would have been easy for Mary & Joseph to bring a young Jesus to Jerusalem.  The very few stories we have of the child Jesus in Jerusalem all describe people being very impressed with him.  What parent does not immensely enjoy his or her child being complimented and praised?  Still, the bigger question is:  Would Mary and Joseph have ever taken Jesus to Jerusalem had they known what eventually would happen to him there? 

 

We like to think at the very least, Mary would have accepted that fate and would not have tried to prevent it; however, what of our families today?  Are parents willing to put their children in situations where they will fail (by fail, I mean failure by society’s standards, not God’s standards)?  Would we bring our children to the proverbial Jerusalem every year if we knew that eventually they would be rejected there? 

 

I think most parents would not, and there would be very good and valid reasons for that decision.  On the other hand, perhaps the greatest thing a parent can do for his or her child is to teach sacrifice.  Jerusalem is the place where Jesus will make the ultimate sacrifice.  It is where he will pour himself out completely in self-giving love.  If every parent took their children to that place over and over again, there is no doubt that those children would grow up to become strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God would be upon them.

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