In his Infancy narrative, read during Christmastime at Mass, Luke skillfully describes the coming of the Lord, starting in the temple where the angel announces the birth of John to Zechariah, then to Nazareth where the birth of Jesus is announced. Mary hurries to her cousin Elizabeth with the news. Then, there’s the birth of John when the old priest Zechariah gets his voice back. Then, Jesus is born and poor shepherds come from the dark hills to see him.
In today’s reading, Mary and Joseph take the Child to the temple in Jerusalem, “to present him to the Lord.” Two old people, Simeon and Anna, meet the Child. Simeon is filled with joy as he takes the Child in his arms. “Now you can dismiss your servant in peace, Lord, because my eyes have seen your salvation.” No temple priests, no officials, no angels are in the story, just two old people happening to be there meet the Child.
Anna, a temple regular, is 84 years old and a widow after being married for only seven years. She also sees the Child. “Coming forward at the very time,” Luke says, “she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”
The Lord comes to one 84 years old as well as to Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, the shepherds in the hills, the wise men from afar. He comes to all. Anna gives thanks when she sees the Child and speaks about him to everyone she meets. At 84, she becomes an apostle.
It ain’t over till it’s over.