Sunday is the Presentation of the Lord, one of several times this year when a Feast will supplant a Sunday in Ordinary Time. This probably isn’t going to be the usual kind of reflection. As I write this, I know what I want to share but have no idea where to go with it!
In Sunday’s Gospel, we have two very elderly people who participate daily in the Temple rituals. Simeon encounters the Holy Family first and is overcome with joy. For years upon years, he had been awaiting the coming of the Messiah and as he held Jesus his life was fulfilled. Then comes Anna, an elderly widow, who also recognized Jesus as the Messiah.
We at St. Paul’s have been fortunate enough to recently gain the expertise of a gal named Jeanette. She serves at our weekend Masses as cantor and pianist. Jeanette and her husband Zachary have three little children (I’m guessing 18 months to four years), with another on the way. Twice now, Zachary and the kids have accompanied Jeanette to Mass. Well … you should see how enthralled the elders are with those children. A couple times during Sunday’s homily I was tempted to wave my arms and say, “Hey, I’m over here!!!” After Mass, there’s none of the usual rush for the chapel door, but instead a rush over to the piano, where Jeanette and her children are. It’s cute … really it is! I’m happy because it’s truly life-giving for the elders. I told Jeanette and Zachary that their family is going to have 100+ honorary grandmas and grandpas.
Now where to go with this? I’m thinking that the children are a truly wonderful way to highlight the ministry of simple presence. Simeon and Anna were simply there in the temple, day after day, just waiting. They encountered the life-giving Messiah. The little children are simply there in chapel, being themselves, yet giving bright life to the ordinary days of the older folks. Flowing from that, how often has our simple presence in the life of another helped us to see the presence of the Lord Jesus with us?
Be God’s smile for someone today!!!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.