A Big Thank You to our Seniors!

 

Two of my favorite people in the Bible appear in the same context. Luke tells us that, when the time came, Jesus was brought to the Temple to be presented to the Lord. When Mary and Joseph enter the Temple, the first person they meet is Simeon. We don't know much about Simeon, except that he has been told that he will not die until he has seen the Messiah. He sees the Child, rejoices, and then tells the Lord that he is now ready to die in peace because the Lord's promise to him has been fulfilled. I think we can safely take from this that Simeon is an older man, one who has most likely spent much of the latter part of his life in the Temple. Apparently while Simeon is still speaking, Anna appears on the scene. Now we do know that Anna is eighty-four years old, and has spent most of her life living in the temple. In fact, she spends her days and nights in prayer and fasting. Picture the scene.  The  young couple, Mary and Joseph, showing off the new Baby to the two seniors.  The seniors both realizing that something very special is happening here. And then, Anna, considered a prophetess, begins to speak of the Child to everyone who will listen.

How very human is this scene, and how much like our church today.  How beautiful it is to see our seniors involved in every aspect of our parish. Like Simeon and Anna, our older parishioners devote so much of their time and energy to our community. They make our worship experience richer by serving as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and Lectors. They give back to our community through the Knights of Columbus and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The St. Stephen Ministry's Christmas Basket project is truly amazing. The program provides wrapped Christmas gifts for so very many people who wouldn't have any celebration without the Ministry's work.

There is a great deal of conversation in the Church today about young people, about the need to evangelize the  young and engage them. There is even a World Youth Day, which the Holy Father attends every year. And it is certainly true that young people are the future of the Church. It's not easy to be a young person today, and we do need to reach out to our youth in a meaningful way. But as much as they are the future of the Church, our seniors are the present of the Church. There is a natural rhythm to life, and our Church reflects that. Young people are very busy growing up, getting established, marrying, having families, buying houses, and doing all the necessary things that our seniors have already done.  And our seniors are there, in the front lines, keeping our Church strong and healthy for our young people.  They have the talent and the experience, and now they have the time.  It's all a  beautiful reflection of our life as God's  community.

 So a big Thank You to our seniors. Without you, our liturgies would be less vibrant. Our community would be less cohesive. Our celebrations would be poorer. And many of our members would be lacking food, Christmas gifts, fuel, clothes,  and companionship. Thank you, and God bless each of you.

 

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