Luke 2:22-40, February 2, 2013
At that time, the parents brought the child Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Symeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
"Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Symeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
'EYES THAT SEEN SALVATION'
Presented in today's Gospel are two faithful servants of the Father in the names of Simeon and Anna. The Holy Spirit was with them that they were able to witness salvation before their death, giving Him praise and speaking words of redemption! Indeed, these two people are excellent examples on how servitude should be achieved. It requires no age bracket (as Anna was 84 then), certain degree of social status, or any other standards or measures. Great servitude entails a heart filled with dedication and wisdom through the Holy Spirit, being just and devout as Simeon was.
Now, brothers and sisters, how many 'Simeons' and 'Annas' do we only have today as we go along in our service? Or do we even see them in our own selves?
Mark 5:24-34, February 4, 2013
At that time, a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well." And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, "Who touched my garments?" And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, 'Who touched me?'" And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
Oftentimes in moments of stress and disaster, grief and pain that's unfathomable, longing for questions left hanged and unanswered, we lose track with the Lord. Along the way we can't even realize we have attached ourselves with our problems, forgetting that we have a strong pillar to hold on. However, this situation can only happen if and when our faith has weakened and has become vulnerable. Faith, as long as we hold unto it, would take us further even to the extent we couldn't even imagine being there---- making us determined and strong once again, giving the book of our lives another chance to begin another chapter full of hope, and more importantly, helping our souls be purified and cleansed from our sins.
Yet, as what is usually said, having faith is useless until it is put into reality or action. So let's strive better (if not harder) to make a beautiful and lasting relationship with the Lord through constant and genuine prayer, proclaiming the Good News and by extending our both hands openly to our brethren especially to those in need of enlightenment.
Just like the woman in today's Gospel, Jesus tells us the same message: "Your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed."