Good News for the Day, December 30, 2017
The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas (203)
There was a prophetess, Anna, of the family of Phanuel in the Asher Tribe. She was old—seven years married, and a widow until she was 84. She almost never left the temple, but served God night and day, fasting and praying. Right then, she approached, gave thanks to God, and talked about the child with everybody else who were looking forward to getting Jerusalem’s freedom back. When His parents had fulfilled all the ritual rules from the law of the Lord, they went back to Galilee, to their hometown, Nazareth. The boy matured—got strong—a very wise person and in him there was a God-like graciousness . (Luke 2)
Asher was a wealthy tribe, and this woman belonged—the Greek implies—to a wealthy element in it—a woman of independent means, dedicated to her religious duties.
She is looking for the “redemption” of Jerusalem. She is dedicated not merely to her “church” and “religion,” but to a larger world, a more significant horizon–Jerusalem. She works for the “redemption” of Jerusalem. The word contains the idea that Jerusalem—this splendid, impressive gem of wealth constructed by Herod the Great into one of the Great Cities of the Roman world—is a slave. She talks about how this “poor” place, these “poor” people needs to be purchased away from a master.
The Good News is the call for you to buy back—with your kindness—the enslaved world around you—addicted, despairing, and deceived persons. No matter how splendid or secure people seem in money or mind, so many hidden lives are enslaved—trapped in prison cells of old habits, presumptions, assumptions and standards set by society for their behavior. Like Anna, you are to pray—to pray all your life—84 years or less—for the freeing up of people around you. Rather than seeing them as less than you, you see them as fellow strugglers, butterflies trying to get out of the cocoon that circumstances have woven them into. Because you are humble, you recognize what others do not see—the sadness and rage in the heart that wants to be free of such conditions. Your kindness, forgiveness and caring does that. It frees Jerusalem—and creates a New Earth and a New Heaven in its place.