Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.
The main characters in the drama of Christmas, of course, are Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In the supporting roles are two senior citizens: Simeon and Anna, the prophetess. These two old people have an important lesson for us today.
We live in a society obsessed with youth and achievement. Simeon and Anna remind us that there is more to life than that. The last third of life is just as important and can be more rewarding than the first two thirds. The physical and mental powers may be deteriorating but the spiritual powers are constantly growing.
The "golden years" are a time of freedom. "Free at last" from the "rat race", from competition and rugged individualism. No longer proud competitors struggling for perfection, we can be humble, loving human beings. Our "persistent Pelagian labors to save ourselves and our world, have all ended in frustration and failure - so we let go, we let God. "whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine." We are "free at last" to make the long delayed journey into our inner self to the God who is the ground of our being. We are "free at last" for prayer and meditation.
The "golden years" are a time for exchanging the apostolate of doing to the apostolate of being. Unfortunately, when we think of the apostolate we think of action, of going and doing. But strange as it may seem the first and perhaps the most effective apostolate is the apostolate of being. First is to be and then to do, and the action follows the being. Pecan trees produce pecans, orange trees produce oranges and baboons produce baboons. Now is the apostolate of being happy to be me.
The "golden years" are also a time to be a witness to the fidelity of the love of God. When God called us He did not give us a blueprint, a map, or job description. He did not promise a rose garden. He promised only that whatever the garden, be it the Garden of Eden or the Garden of Gethsemane, He will be there. And in spite of all of our infidelities He has been there. We are witness to the fact that our security rests not on any merit of our own but solely on the fidelity of the love of God, on the Divine Mercy.
The "golden years" is a time to show gratitude for gifts given and those God refused to give; those things that we thought were so necessary and for which we prayed so much.
The "golden years" is a time to witness to the fact that in the midst of time and change there is Someone who is timeless and does not change. "Jesus Christ, yesterday, today and the same forever." We do not know what tomorrow holds but we know WHO holds tomorrow.
Finally, there is the end for which the beginning was made. As we say in the Mass, "with joyful hope we are waiting for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ." And we have discovered much to our surprise, just as Simeon and Anna did, that our Lord really does save the very best wine for last. If not in this life, surely in the next.
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