Today’s gospel tells the story of Simeon and Anna, two very old people who have dedicated their lives to God, living in the temple precincts, waiting and praying for the coming of the promised messiah. When they saw Joseph and Mary bringing the child Jesus to present him to God – somewhat like many of us were brought to the church for baptism – both Simeon and Anna knew completion. As Simeon said, “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace…for my own eyes have seen your salvation…the glory of your people…”
I think of all the “Senior Sisters” sitting daily in the chapel at our motherhouse or in their rooms, waiting on God, looking for a sign, listening for God’s call, living in surrender to life. Many of them are older than Anna’s 84 years. they have lived and ministered in religious community for 60, 70 or 80 years (one is 104 years old!) and are an example to those of us who take courage in their perseverance and steadfastness. This past Saturday I met one of them (aged 88) who told me she was “so excited!!” to read the feedback from the latest Congregational process toward our future. She wants to be around for whatever comes – at least for the next 15 years or so…
Psalm 24 speaks today of opening the gates of the city to let God in. One translation was particularly beautiful, I thought, saying: So open wide the gates and doors, O humankind, open everything, and let God’s glory in. Who is this God whose beauty streams to us in majesty so strong? A God who battled chaos and who won! So open, open everything to God. Let no door be shut, let beauty flood and fill the world! Who is this king of majesty, this queen of light? It is the Lord of All, the God of everything that is, your God, the Radiant One, Most Beautiful!
May we all give thanks and bless the ones who teach us to be open to new ideas, new eras dawning on the world and especially those who help us open the gates of our hearts to the One who calls us ever forward in love.