Daily Reflection – Dec 31, 2017
Sunday 31 December 2017
First Reading: SIR 3:2-6, 12-14
Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
PS 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Second Reading: COL 3:12-21
Gospel Reading: LK 2:22-40
Today’s Note: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
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,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
He took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
“Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
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.
The child’s father and mother were amazed. (Luke 2:33)
So here we are, on the cusp of a new year. It’s the perfect day to reflect on the past year’s blessings and to set our hopes on those yet to come. Imagine all the families that are doing this very thing today—engaging in this “dual vision” of the past and the future.
It’s not hard to imagine the Holy Family doing the same thing as well. They, too, had much to look back on and much to anticipate! Perhaps Mary recalled the angel’s words about Jesus at the Annunciation, “He will be . . . called Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32). Joseph must have remembered his dream, when the angel told him to name Mary’s son Jesus, “because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Remembering these dramatic interventions must have helped this couple to trust in God’s faithfulness and to know that their future was safe in his hands.
Joseph and Mary weren’t the only ones to engage in this dual vision. Simeon shared his vision with them as well. Holding the infant Jesus, he saw the fulfillment of all God’s promises and the hope for the future salvation of Israel. No wonder they were amazed! Surely his words rang in their ears as they looked back and looked ahead.
What about you? How was God with your “holy family” this year? Maybe you can ask everyone this question at dinner tonight. Were there times of rejoicing, like a new grandchild? Were there moments of sickness or strained relationships? Try to identify how God has been with you through it all. But don’t only look back—look forward too. How has the past year prepared you for the blessings to come? Maybe God is just beginning to unfold something new in your life. How can you embrace it?
This is a day to be amazed at God’s blessings—and to know that even better things have yet to come!
“Thank you, Lord, for being with us this year. Help us stay close to you in the new year as well.”