The Wisdom of Simeon & Anna

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord | February 2, 2020

See today’s readings here. This homily focuses on the Gospel reading. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found here: Salesian Sermons

So full disclosure, I have never wanted children of my own.  

But I absolutely love enjoying moments with kids that I get to hand back when they need a diaper change or start having a meltdown.

Walking hand in hand as we go trick or treating. Listening to their delighted shouts of ZumZum as I walk into the house.

Sitting with them as they snuggle into my chest and fall asleep to the words of stories I remember hearing as a child myself.

    Ruffling their head, whispering munchkin and watching them giggle.

    Picking them up and swinging them in circles as they shout with glee.

It is just so easy to love children.

    Their innocence.

    Their delight in the world around them.

Their innate trust in people. The way their heart so easily embraces all

Which is why the idea of Jesus as a child is so appealing for so many of us.

You can just picture a little Jesus, resting in his mother’s arms.

    Watching people gather around him.  Celebrating him. Delighting in him.

    Who wouldn’t fall in love with him?

And yet, in this Gospel, we get these ominous notes that this scene will not last forever.

    Talk about the rise and fall of many.

    Talk about swords piercing hearts.

This little infant will not remain one.  On the contrary, Jesus quickly ages into the adult whose words and deeds will topple many a proverbial apple cart.  The adult whose life will ultimately upset enough people that they will nail him to a tree.

The adult that we are asked to commit our own lives to.

My friends, today on this feast, we are reminded that each and every day, we are presented with the face of Christ in each person we encounter.

    And yes, it may be really easy to see that face in the little child smiling up at us.

    But we cannot stop there.

    We must continue to seek that face in all those people who we may find difficult to love.

In that little child who is now having a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store and In our teenage son who is struggling mightily with his mental health and lashes out in anger each time you try to help.

        In our best friend as she battles her addiction or her eating disorder.

In the family member who gossiped about us behind our back or the teacher who always finds something to criticize or the boss who passed us over for a promotion.

In the classmate who grates on our last nerve or the co-worker who never pulls their weight or the Facebook friends who insists on posting their fake news at an alarming rate.

In the immigrant and refugee whose skin color and story is not our own. Whose religion and language appears so foreign to what we are used to. In the politician whose politics we vehemently disagree with and the celebrity whose personal choices we find appalling. In the soldier returning home with PTSD.

In the incarcerated teen who murdered my student and the homeless gentleman who makes us uncomfortable as we drive by him on the way home from school.

And maybe most difficult of all.

We must encounter Christ within ourselves, each time we look in the mirror.

No, we may not be the innocent children we once were.

    We may have our scars and wrinkles and broken hearts.

    We may have our regrets and anxieties and fears.

    We may have our mistakes and failures and losses.

But we are still beloved members of Christ’s body. We are his hands and feet. We are his face.

Christ is presented to us once again this day in all the faces that surround us.

May we have the wisdom of Simeon and Anna to see him there.

May God be Praised.

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