- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

December 30, 2015

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

6th Day in the Octave of Christmas
1 John 2: 12-17; Luke 2: 36-40

We just heard these words proclaimed: “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 JN. 2:15). Perhaps Saint John was recalling the words of Jesus: “For wherever your treasure is, there the desires of you heart will also be” (Mat. 6:21). And again, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly wealth” (Mat. 6:24). In order to be Disciples of Christ, we need to keep our heart pure and in order because our citizen ship is in heaven (Cf. Phil. 3:20). We need to distance ourselves from anything that would keep our sights from our ultimate goal. Forgetting the things that are of this world, we must reach with all our might for what lies ahead because the world as we know it is passing away (Cf. 1 Jn. 2:17)

Eternal life is a gift of God presented to us in the hands of the infant born in Bethlehem. Unfortunately, we live in a society that seeks to ban the telling of the story of that silent night. With the weakening of the nuclear family, much of the ethnic flavor has been lost and the rituals of Christmas have been forgotten. While many people claim to be striving for the finish line, they have lost their compass and keep wandering from the path. When Pope Francis opened the Holy Door, he presented us with a path that will lead us home. In his 2013 pastoral letter announcing the Light is On initiative, Cardinal Donald Wuerl wrote: Welcome! Our doors are open and the light is on. The invitation is offered, but each of us must take the steps necessary to cross the threshold.

We need the witness of venerable old people like Anna the prophetess, people who have clung to the anchor of faith. This renowned elder made God all in all and set her heart on God’s promise. She knew that God required total surrender to His Law. She knew that to embrace His Law she needed to find her home in Him. Widowed and childless, she heard the call of God and allowed Him to pitch His tent in her heart. Earthly joys had passed away, but she knew God’s faithful love to be everlasting. Guided by the light of faith, she was able saw the Presence of the Living God in an infant. Listening with the ears of her heart, she heard the call of God in Jesus’ infant cries. Uninhibited by worldly concerns, she was free to follow wherever He led. Responding to the summons of the Holy Spirit, Anna worshipped God in holy abandon and encouraged any who would listen to accept the mercy of God offered in the new-born infant.

The life and witness of this aged woman shows us the path to truth and life. Having breathed the breath of the Spirit she gave herself to prayer, fasting and the service of God. Her fidelity to God demanded patience and vigilance. She remained faithful to her life of service in response to the fidelity of God to His promise. Because she longed to know the loving embrace of God, she was able to embrace her redeemer in her arms when she heard his voice. Knowing that her journey was nearing its end, she was able to recognize the advent of the new creation. May we be found worthy of such a companion on our faith journey.