Servicing in the temple
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.Lk2,36-40
Forty years after the birth of the eldest son, the Moses law dictates that the parents have to go to the Jerusalem temple to offer him to the Lord and for the purification of the mother. In the circumstance of the today gospel, however, is not the baby to be offered to the Lord, but is the Lord himself to be offered by Mary and Joseph for the salvation of the humanity and of the world. This is the mystery which is captured by the prophetess Ann and by the old Simeon, who, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, give free course to the joy and the praise. The completion of the long waiting fills of gratitude the heart of the old Simon, who, as we have underlined in the yesterday meditation, bursts out in the wonderful song of the Dimittis: “Now, Master you may let your servant go in peace” ( Lk 2,29 ). Today, however, the gospel is centered on the figure of Ann to whom, as to the old Simon, due to his faithfulness for the servicing in the temple, the Holy Spirit allows to recognize in the baby Jesus the future Messiah. Ann remembers to me an old woman of my town of Sieci, who, together with other women, were used to go to clean the church during the week. After the completion of the works, the other women were used to quit and she remained there to pray alone. “This is the moment of the day when the Lord is only for me – she told me one day -; he is happy of what I did and I enjoy of his presence as a servant to whom, after the work, it is allowed to speak with her Lord”.