The presentation of Christ in the temple reveals him as the prophecied savior. Simeon and Anna were ready and waiting.
Methodius of Olympus wrote, "Simeon and Anna, bearing in themselves most evidently the images of both peoples, had taken their station by the side of that glorious and virginal throne, for by the old man was represented the people of Israel, and the law now waxing old; whilst the widow Anna represents the Church of the Gentiles, which had been up to this point a widow, the old man, indeed, as personating the law, seeks dismissal; but the widow, as personating the Church, brought her joyous confession of faith."
Simeon represents humanity waiting for the consolation of Israel and he receives the fullfillment into his arms. Anna represents the church and goes on to proclaim the gospel "to any that would hear." Both were enlivened by the Holy Spirit to recognize and adore the newborn Christ. Both stand as examples to us as we await the return of Christ. Are you ready, friend?
You have been equipped for to share the gospel, friend. You probably won't feel like it, but you have. If you have been baptized, confirmed, and have received the Eucharist, you have been equipped. If you have a Bible and attend Sunday School or Bible study, then you are equipped and trained. You are ready. It's time to take action. BE BOLD. You encounter people every day in need of encouragement, desperate for hope, longing for joy. If you want to see God move in your life, if you want your faith to be powerful, then BE BOLD. Tell the next three people you encounter about what God is doing in your life. Invite them to church. Ask them if you can pray for them. That is God's will for you. That is the mission of the Holy Spirit within you. So do it. BE BOLD.
Our God is a consuming fire. In the book of Exodus, we find detailed instructions about how the animal sacrifice was to be quartered and completely consumed by fire on the brazen alter. In today's Gospel, we are the sacrifice that must be completely consumed by fire. The brazen alter is now our hearts, and the consuming fire is the Holy Spirit. It is our old man, our old, sinful selves, that must be completely consumed. Is there a part of your old self that you're keeping from the consuming fire?
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Christianity is about so much more than "a relationship with Jesus." It is about a deep, holy union with the triune God. It's about sacrifice, submission, redemption, and propitiation. Unless you understand how much you need God, you'll never really understand how much He loves you. That's why describing the faith as a "friendship with God" falls far short of truly articulating what our Heavenly Father did for you when he sent Jesus Christ to earth and to the cross. Watch to learn more from this homily on Hebrews 9.