THE FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY
[B] (Dec 31st, 2023) Gen 15: 1-6, 21: 1-3; Heb 11: 8, 11-12, 17-19; Lk 2: 22-40.
The Holy Spirit renews our hope in the promise of God.
Introduction: On the last Sunday of the year, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, which reminds us that we are part of a human family and at the same time we belong to God’s family, the Church. In both these families, we have privileges and responsibilities, to work out our salvation together — as women, men, and children living and working in love and peace.
How do we do that? Let’s imitate the encounter with Simeon and Anna: By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the old, pious, Spirit-filled Simeon and the very old widow, Anna, both of whom had been waiting for the revelation of God’s salvation, were present in the Temple the day Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to Present Him to the Father. Simeon recognized Jesus as the Lord’s Anointed One, and in his prayer of blessing, he prophesied that Jesus was meant to be the glory of Israel and a Light of revelation to the Gentiles. But while he blessed Mary, Simeon warned that her child would be “set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign of contradiction” and that “a sword will pierce through your own soul.
Life Message: However, apart from Simeon, Anna, too, was filled with the Holy Spirit. She was found daily in the temple, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking prophetically to others about God's promise to send a redeemer. This depicts that supernatural hope grows with prayer and age! Hence Anna was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation that God would fulfill all his promises. She is a model of godliness to all believers as we advance in age. In other words, advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we do not have our hope rightly placed. Anna's hope in God and his promises grew with age. She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope. Consequently, her hope and faith in God's promises fueled her indomitable zeal and fervor in prayer and service of God's people.
Conclusion: What do you hope for? Is there anything holding you back from giving God your unqualified trust and submission to his will for your life? Allow the newborn Baby- the Lord Jesus- to flood your heart with his peace, joy, and love. And offer to God everything you have and desire - your life, family, friends, health, honor, wealth, and future. Let us, therefore, pray for the grace of caring for one another in our own families, for each member of the parish family, and for all families of the universal Church. May God bless all your families, and our Parish family, in the New Year. AMEN!