I read the short version of today’s Gospel because we heard the long version on the Feast of the Presentation last February. You remember, of course, yes? It’s the story of Mary and Joseph bringing the baby Jesus to the Temple for the Jewish ritual of Presentation. There, they encounter both Simeon and Anna who prophesy great things for this child.
It’s a terrific story, and I encourage you to read it from the second chapter of Luke. But right now I want to focus on the fact that today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, and the crucial importance of family in the human journey of faith. Without our family relationships, most of us would not be here today.
Today we celebrate two people – Mary the Mother of Jesus and John the Baptist. Both heard God calling them to proclaim a God of love, of forgiveness, of mercy, of justice. Both faced hardships, ridicule, and rejection in their lives. Yet without either of them, their yes and their faith, we would not have the faith we have today.
Sr. Bridget Hasse, OSU, tells a story: “My lamp’s lit,” shouted my Appalachian neighbor, Irma Louise, “I’m waiting for his return!” Concerned for her health, I hurried up her porch steps and asked if she was seriously ill. “Mercy, no,” she laughed, “every day the Master comes, but you just never know when. So I’m ready.” The question is: am I ready, are you ready?