Luke 2:22, 39-40
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
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By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Although we usually are too polite to show it, let’s be honest—once in a while we receive a Christmas gift that is just the opposite of what we were expecting!
Now, an unexpected Christmas gift may not be all that bad. Sometimes, years later, we may cherish such a gift more than those we’d have chosen for ourselves.
The infancy narratives in Luke’s Gospel offer us a similar “unexpected gift.” Between the lines of his accounts of the Holy Family, the infant in the manger or the shepherds visiting the manger, Luke is leading us to look ahead in the story, to the outcome of the Lord’s mission: his death and resurrection. Scripture scholars tell us that these stories point to wider themes of Luke’s Gospel, the revelation about Jesus’ identity and the challenge of being his disciples.
In today’s selection, the words of Simeon, who meets the Holy Family in the Temple, tell us that Jesus will encounter opposition and persecution, the opposite of the acclaim we might expect for the Messiah. He also reveals another reversal: Instead of being a tool to defeat Israel’s enemies, this child will be “a revealing light to the Gentiles.”
Mary and Joseph are models for us of patient expectation and openness to God. Today’s Gospel might suggest that we do the same. Are we open to God’s surprising love today? Are we flexible enough to expect change, even from those around us whom we know well? There may yet be some unexpected gifts in store.
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By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Gen 15:1-6; 21:1-3), Abram, our father in faith, was worried because he was childless and had no heir. So what did Abram do? What promise did God make to him about his descendants?
The last part of this reading (Gen 21:1-3) tells of how Sarah gave birth to a son when she and Abram were both very old. What name did Abram give his son?
The second reading (Heb 11:1-8, 11-12, 17-19) reflects on the faith of Abram who went forth from his homeland at the command of God, and how God gave him a son in his old age.
What happened later, when God told Abram to sacrifice Isaac?
This week’s Gospel (Lk 2:22-40) is the story of how Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to “consecrate him to the Lord.” What happened in the Temple when Simeon saw the child Jesus?
What message did Simeon give Mary when he blessed their family?
What did Anna do after she had seen Jesus?
Joseph and Mary took Jesus to their home in Nazareth. What does the last line of the reading say about how Jesus grew?
There’s a lot of talk about families in today’s readings. Do you know who all is in your family? Have an adult help you create a family tree so you can get a sense of how big your family truly is.
When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple, many people had things to say about Jesus and his future and what he would do. What would you like to do in the future? What are your hopes and dreams?