There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father’s home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew in stature and strength and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.
Today, we have the case of Anna. Luke presents her genealogy and praises her long widowhood in the temple: praying, fasting and serving. She also was inspired to join the humble couple in their presentation of the firstborn in the temple. She praised God and spoke of the child to all who looked to the deliverance of Jerusalem. This discrete presence of a prophetess comes to complete the scene of blessings. In Simeon, the prophecy on Jesus and Mary was explicit and mysterious: universality of his light and suffering of the mother because of the contradiction around her son. Here, have we not a special message wherein we may bathe in the same atmosphere of praise, thanksgiving and redemption?
Finally we have a summary of the childhood of Jesus which parallels the childhood of John.
In fact we read about the Baptist: “As the child grew, he was seen to be strong in the Spirit; he lived in the desert till the day when he appeared openly in Israel” (Lk 1:80). And about Jesus: “The child grew in stature and strength and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him” (Lk 2:40).
With Simeon and Anna let us accept and meditate on this simple testimony of the Gospel.
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