The Example of Anna

Homily for the Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Over the last couple of days now, we have been reading through the account of the Presentation of the Lord from the Gospel of Luke. Yesterday, we read the Canticle of Simeon, this great prayer of thanksgiving to God for allowing him to see the Messiah. Remember that Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he saw the Christ. The Holy Spirit reveals to Simeon that Jesus is the one who would redeem Israel and so he gives testimony to that truth.

Today, we see a similar thing happen with the prophetess Anna. She, too, had been waiting…for years!…to encounter the Messiah. She likely knew of the revelation that the Holy Spirit had given Simeon and probably was present for his prayer for being able to recognize the Messiah and to receive Him at His presentation. That then compelled Anna to go out and become the first evangelizer. She went out to share the Good News that the Messiah was here, and that a holy day had dawned upon the people of Israel…finally…after waiting so long.

What do these stories mean for us though? They call us to recognize the importance of being able to listen to the stirrings of the Spirit within our own hearts. Each of us has received gifts from the Holy Spirit through our baptism and confirmation. We’re called to utilize those gifts.

Are we as tuned into the Holy Spirit as we should be? Are we taking time each day to pray – and not just give the Lord lip-service? Are we actually praying (sharing our hearts with the Lord) and actively seeking to listen to what He is calling us to do?

The Lord desires nothing more than for us to have a deeper, more intimate and personal encounter with Him. He does that through our prayer. And it is in that encounter that we are brought, like Anna, to possess an incredible enthusiasm to go out and tell others of how the Lord has changed our lives.

Today, the Lord is calling all of us to be like Anna, to enter more deeply into a relationship with Him, to recognize His presence in our midst, and to go out and share that experience with others. Are we willing to do that? Will each of us allow the Holy Spirit to touch our hearts today so that we can then go out and become evangelizers, leading others to an encounter with Christ?

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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