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Feast of the Holy Family: Old people build young world

Today, the evangelist introduces the observance of all the requirements of the law of the Lord by the holy family. He wishes to emphasise that, from the earliest years of his life, Jesus has faithfully fulfilled the Father’s will.
The message is addressed to all Christian parents. They are called to a most important mission: to consecrate their children to the Lord, from the earliest days of their lives. 
Educating in the faith is more than just teaching prayers and imposing the fulfillment of religious practices. We know that children learn more with the eyes than with the ears. The Christian life of the parents is the best way to give catechesis to the children. 
In the second part of the passage, an old man, Simeon enters. He is described as “a just man and fears God, awaiting the consolation of Israel.” 
Simeon teaches how to grow old. He remembers his past, but has no regrets. He remembers God’s promises and awaits the fulfillment with unwavering confidence.
Simeon looks forward to the time when the Lord will comfort Israel, surely remembering the Lord’s promise. 
Simeon rejoices when he sees and takes the messiah of God in his arms. He now offers him, in the name of Israel, to all peoples. This moving scene depicts the task of transmitting the faith within each family. Every generation of Christians accepts the Lord from the hands of their fathers. 
The mother of Jesus is understood here as the symbol of Israel. In the bible, Israel (female name in Hebrew) is a woman, a bride, made fruitful by God. She conceives, and gives birth to her own son.
No one better than Mary could represent this mother Israel. 
Simeon understands the plight of his people. He says that in Israel a deep laceration will happen.
In front of the messiah, the envoy from the sky, some will open up mind and heart and welcome the salvation; others will close themselves in denial, declaring their own downfall.
Now, another elderly person appears: the prophetess Anna. She is 84-years-old and this number, which is the result of 7x12, has a clear symbolic meaning: seven means perfection, while 12 represents the people of Israel. 
Anna is therefore the woman, Israel, who, having accomplished her mission, gives the world the expected messiah.
She is a woman faithful to her husband to the point of not remarrying. Her choice has a theological significance for the evangelist. Like the aged Simeon, Anna is the symbol of the faithful bride of the Lord. 
Older people never feel useless when they live in expectation of the coming of the Lord. They can always perform many humble services that are valuable and bring joy to others. 
They have, above all, as the old prophet, the task of talking about Jesus to those who are looking for a way of life. They have enriched themselves with spiritual experience. This is the most precious heritage that must be bequeathed to future generations.
• Father Fernando Armellini SCJ        
Claretian Publications
Abridged by Kandamkulathy Jijo