ANGELUS ADDRESS BY POPE FRANCIS: 2nd February, 2020
Today we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord: when the newborn Jesus was presented to the temple by the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. On this date there is also the Day of consecrated life, which recalls the great treasure in the Church of those who follow the Lord closely by professing the evangelical counsels.
The Gospel (cf. Lk 2 : 22-40) tells that, forty days after birth, Jesus’ parents brought the Child to Jerusalem to consecrate him to God, as prescribed by Jewish law. And while describing a ritual foreseen by tradition, this episode brings to our attention the example of some characters. They are caught when they experience the encounter with the Lord in the place where He makes himself present and close to man. These are Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna, who represent models of acceptance and giving of their life to God. These four were not the same, they were all different, but they all sought God and allowed themselves to be guided by the Lord.
The evangelist Luke describes them all in a twofold attitude: attitude of movement and attitude of amazement .
The first attitude is movement. Mary and Joseph walk towards Jerusalem; for his part, Simeon, moved by the Spirit, goes to the temple, while Anna serves God day and night without stopping. In this way the four protagonists of the Gospel passage show us that Christian life requires dynamism and requires willingness to walk, letting oneself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Immobilism does not suit Christian witness and the mission of the Church. The world needs Christians who let themselves be moved, who never tire of walking the streets of life, to bring everyone the consoling word of Jesus. Every baptized person has received a vocation to proclaim – announce something, announce Jesus -, the vocation to the evangelizing mission: to announce Jesus!
The second attitude with which Saint Luke presents the four characters of the story is amazement . Mary and Joseph “were amazed at the things they said about him [about Jesus]” (v. 33). Amazement is also an explicit reaction from old Simeon, who in the Child Jesus sees with his own eyes the salvation wrought by God in favor of his people: that salvation that he had been waiting for for years. And the same is true of Anna, who “also began to praise God” (v. 38) and to go and show people Jesus. This is a chatty saint, she chatted well, chatted about good things, not bad things. She said, announced: a saint who went from one woman to another making them see Jesus. These figures of believers are enveloped in amazement, because they let themselves be captured and involved by the events that happened before their eyes. The ability to be amazed at the things around us favors the religious experience and makes the encounter with the Lord fruitful. In reverse, the inability to amaze us makes us indifferent and widens the distances between the journey of faith and everyday life. Brothers and sisters, always on the move and leaving us open to amazement!
May the Virgin Mary help us to contemplate in Jesus the gift of God for us every day, and to let ourselves be involved by him in the movement of the gift, with joyful amazement, so that our whole life may become a praise to God in the service of our brothers.