1 John 2: 12-17
Luke 2: 36-40
The brief scene in today’s gospel reminds us of the significant part ordinary people play in our lives and in our communities.
Luke tells us that Anna was a prophet – a significant role for a very ordinary person. Widowed after seven short years, and now elderly, Anna would have been regarded as of low class, with no husband to support her for perhaps seventy years!
Like women in every parish, Anna devoted herself to constant prayer (in the temple) and she confidently prayed for the promises made to Israel. Foremost among those promises, was the arrival of a messiah.
Upon encountering Joseph, Mary and Jesus in the temple, forty days after Jesus’ birth, her first response is to give thanks to God, and to begin to tell those around, of the great things the child would do for the saving of Jerusalem.
Anna is linked in this scene with Simeon, but interestingly, outranks him. He is praised by Luke for being righteous and devout, while she is proclaimed as one who prays day and night and announced as a prophet – the New Testament’s only named female prophet.
For all those elderly parishioners who pray constantly and attend to various matters for our communities, be that religious communities of parish communities, Anna is a wonderful patron.
Brian Traynor CP has been involved in faith formation for many years especially in the form of parish missions and through the Passionist Family Group Movement. Brian is a member of the Passionist community at Holy Cross, Templestowe.