In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
February is Heart and Stroke month and we pray for all those families dealing with issues of the heart. Our hearts are more than just the physical pumps keeping us alive, our hearts are also powerful symbols of life and love. Today we also celebrate World Day for Consecrated Life and the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Consecrated people are those among us who have chosen to live God's love by living lives of poverty, chastity and obedience. Through gifts given into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, God calls each of us to live in joy and service to God, others and our world. Consecrated life is one such way of living or as we call it in our Church: one kind of vocation.
In Luke's gospel (Luke 2:22ff), we see:
Jesus presented and dedicated to God. In the Temple, Simeon and the prophet Anna, who had foretold Jesus coming recognize and affirmed him. Mary and Joseph marveled at their pronouncements but "when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the Child [Jesus] grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon Him." God's heart was in our world.
We pray: Jesus, when you were presented in the temple that day, the prophecies of old began to unfold. You became known to the Jews and non-Jews alike.
May we have the wisdom of Anna and Simeon in yearning to see goodness and hope even when life becomes difficult. May our hearts rejoice in and share your love.
Together with all the consecrated people in our community and Anna and Simeon we move into our day in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Do some searching to find local consecrated men and women and invite them to share your story in your classroom).