DEC. 30. CHRISTMAS. 6TH DAY. LK. 2. 36-40
There was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.
Since the beginning of time God has always provided Prophets who have proclaimed Jesus Christ, either as someone who was to come; - or as somebody who has already arrived; - and this remains a duty of Christians today!
This is a necessary role even today because, for reasons unknown, God has not decreed all people should know and love him from birth, so we all have to learn of God’s existence and plans from others.
Today’s reading highlights this fact as even at the time of Christ’s birth there was still a need for Christ to be “proclaimed” to the people of Christ’s day, a task that fell, in this instance to Anna.
And how necessary this role is, even in the twenty-first century, as people still have to be told of Christ’s Mission; - to deliver his people from their sins and show them the way to Eternal Life and a Union of Love with their Creator!
No human prophet however was ever given the task of revealing God’s complete plan for his people, which is why their role was simply to point the way to prepare themselves; - by turning away from Pride, Self-love and Sin: - evils that man has had to deal with since the sin of our first parents.
Christ is the ultimate Prophet and Teacher, and the one we all have to listen to and learn from if we want to Know, Love, and Serve God; - which is the purpose for which we are created.
Consider the difference between the Prophet Anna, and the ultimate Prophet Jesus Christ; - with Anna simply ‘pointing the way’ in common with all the other Prophets; - while Christ “is the Way”; - the one we have to learn from, study, and imitate!
John the Baptist even illustrated this point when he said: “I must decrease, while He must increase” which amounts to him saying ‘my job as a prophet is over now that you know Jesus Christ’.
We have all heard from prophets, as that is the way we learn of God’s existence and what he wants of us. Each of us on hearing of God, and his Son, Jesus Christ, has to decide what our personal response is going to be. Sadly, some walk away and focus solely on earthly life, but those who heed the message have a two-fold task; (1) to enter into an intimate relationship with Christ, AND, (2) be a prophet to those who do not know Christ, or who have walked away!