There was 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. (Lk 2:36-38)
There were many people in the days of the Lord, just as there are today, whom society treated as outcasts. It was thought that misfortune had come their way because of their sin or a sin by a family member in the past.
That would have been Anna’s case. She was an old woman who lived alone because she had been widowed. Widows and orphans were often shunned.
God does not shun. God does not cast out. God always reaches out to His people and loves them.
At the temple, where Jesus was brought to be presented to God, Simeon, an old man, was able to see Jesus. He had been promised by God that he would not die until he had seen the savior. In yesterday’s Gospel we heard his beautiful canticle when he saw the Lord.
In today’s Gospel, we heard about the widow and prophetess, Anna, who also had a chance to see Jesus. She recognized Him as the Son of God and, after having the opportunity to encounter Jesus, she spoke about Him to everyone who would listen.
God is waiting to be discovered in our lives. When we find Him, God wants us to proclaim Him. And He wants us to reach out to all people. It is not only our friends, our loved ones, who should hear the Good News. It is everyone — those we love and those we may consider outcast.
No one is an outcast in God’s eyes. That is, indeed, good news for you and for me because it means that we are not outcasts either!
FAITH ACTION: Is there anyone in your life — family member, former friend, neighbor — whom you have made an outcast? Will you consider having mercy on them and forgiving them?