May our voices ring
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!!
The refrain from the responsorial psalm reminds us during this Octave of Christmas to celebrate the Light that has come into our world, which sometimes can be a world of darkness. The Word Made Flesh dwells among us…and we rejoice.
Amidst the celebrations and gifts, the first reading calls us to “not love the world or things of the world.” In the first reading, St. John tells us “the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.”
The Gospel message ties together heaven and earth being glad, and the notion that we are not to love things of the world, by giving us a familiar yet unsung character in Anna, the prophetess. We encounter her today as a standalone figure. Usually, we see her paired with Simeon during the Presentation of our Lord. Today, we reflect on her and her role. We know she is a widow for quite some time, and we know that she spends her time in the temple, worshipping through fasting and prayer and giving thanks to God. We know she spoke, but we do not know what she said. We know she was not quiet but gave witness about Jesus to those she encountered. She models for us what it means to do “the will of God.” We are called to do the same.
As our Christmas season continues, may our voices ring out about the birth of our Savior. May we lead heaven and earth in rejoicing. But, just as importantly, may we do the will of God through our actions by reaching out to those on the margins, to those we encounter in spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.
Deacon Paul Kipfstuhl is the Director of the Social Action Office for Wayne-Ashland-Medina Counties for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Cleveland. He is assigned to St. Francis Xavier Parish in Medina, Ohio and is a member of the Parish Social Ministry Leadership Team for Catholic Charities USA.