Reflecting on Luke 2: 22-40
Don’t we all love this story? And we only hear it in the odd year when the February 2nd Feast of the Presentation falls on a Sunday, and thus pre-empts the usual Sunday in Ordinary Time. The last time we heard it was in 2014.
It’s the concluding story in Luke’s gorgeous narrative of Jesus as an infant. His parents, observant Jews, traveled from Bethlehem to Jerusalem so that he could be “dedicated,” or “presented,” at the Temple. This ritual also called for the purification of the mother, which of course Our Lady did not need, but I’ll bet she went along with, as Jesus did his baptism.
We live this life in grateful service to God, but eternity has a foothold in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Simeon and Anna waited, decade after decade, for the salvation of Israel. When Joseph and Mary walked into the Temple that day with the Baby Jesus, the Holy Spirit led them both to perceive that their life’s waiting was finally over.
All of us have this deep intuition, or maybe memory, that we are made for heaven. But it’s the timing of when we die, and how we die, that we wish we could direct. Anna and Simeon knew that the purpose of their lives had been fulfilled. But is that when most of us die? So often that seems impossible, especially in the deaths of children and young parents. On the other hand, the elderly sick, languishing for years, may beg God for death, and live and live.
Today’s gospel assures us that Jesus holds our future. Clinging to him in life is the surest way to recognize him at our death.
What are you hoping to achieve in your life before you see heaven?
Kathy McGovern ©2020