Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas | Gillick

According to the laws of purification in the Book of Leviticus, a woman, after giving birth to a first-born son, withdrew for kind of a quarantine of purification from the loss of blood during the birth process. In today’s Gospel Joseph escorts his wife, Mary, to present her Son, Jesus, in the temple according also to the Law. After meeting Simeon, Anna, a prophetess of an advanced age, greets the little family. Anna had years of a history of waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem from the Romans. She could look both backward and forward in faith and hope because of this child.

Joseph and Mary return, having fulfilled that section of the Law, and Jesus, in His growing up, fulfilled the Law also by honoring His parents by being obedient. His parents treasured their memories of the past as Jesus learned about His past and so too looked forward to the redemption of Israel. 

Tomorrow is the last day of the year 2020 and mainly we look backward with a bit of cloudiness. Twenty-twenty is the number given to perfect human vision. We all have suffered, this past year, with ocular cataracts leading to our not seeing so well. We bumped into many hard things and had difficulties perceiving what certain events were really all about.
Jesus spent more than ninety percent of His life uncovering, discovering Who He was and gaining a vision of what He was to do. As a totally human person, He had to fumble around the carpenter shop, His home, His neighborhood and with His own personal future. His mother would have mentioned the predictions she had heard in the temple and taught Him the prophecies in the Jewish Scriptures about the Messiah’s coming. These experiences would move Him to reflect, pray, and move slowly into His future, but not with perfect clarity of sight.

Having Twenty-twenty vision is not actually perfect. We cannot see around corners or actually far, far away people or things. Looking backward these last days of this year, we may still not be able to see what the virus gave us or took from us. As with Jesus, we have had to live a bit of the “Hidden-Life” ourselves and perhaps as with Jesus, we, “grew strong, filled with wisdom…”.

We grumbled and fumbled and experienced rather unpleasant aspects of our humanity and of others. As the people of Israel waited for centuries for the Messiah, as Jesus waited for His time, all with the vision of faith and hope, we await the vaccine and our return, or perhaps not return, but re-vision. Our looking backward to 2020 does contain for us the possibilities of seeing ourselves, others, and all God’s creation uncleared by the same wisdom into which Jesus advanced. This wisdom is founded in a grateful receptivity of our human poverties and God’s infinite embrace walking us into the new year of Twenty-twenty-one. “Lord, that I may see.”   

Reflection used from permission from Creighton Online Ministries at onlineministries.crieghton.edu.