Scripture:Lectionary # 204: I John 2:12-17. Psalm 96:7-8.8-9.10. Luke 2:36-40
Luke likes to use parallel images in his Infancy Narrative. We have seen how the hymn of Zechariah is paralleled by Mary’s Magnificat. Now, after having seen Simeon and listened to his prayer, we turn to the prophetess Anna who is eighty four and who realizes that the Messiah has come in the person of Jesus. We do not have any of her prayers but her example speaks just as loud as that of Simeon. She is named and identified as belonging to the tribe of Asher, a name which signifies blessedness, richness, and fullness. Perhaps, she prayed the opening Psalm which starts with that same vocable that means blessedness (Ashrei). We are told she is eighty four years of age as she enters the Temple. One of the Church writers named Hesychius of Jerusalem takes Psalm 84 as he comments on the meaning of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. In reading this Psalm you can profit from his insight and enter into the quiet prayer of Anna, the prophetess. In Scripture we have two women with this name, our prophetess Anna in Luke, and then Hannah an alternate form of Anna who is the mother of Samuel. In the Book of Tobit, the wife of Tobit is named Anna and in the protevangelium or proto-gospel of James, Mary’s mother is named Anna while the father is Joachim. The name of Anna is connected to the Hebrew word which means “Graced one.” Amen.