In the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter Gabe Kaplan moves and lets out a groan. “That’s my father’s sound!” he exclaims.
Been there, done that. However, getting older is not the beginning of the end. It’s a new beginning.
Our readings as Mass this morning included Genesis 15: 1-6, 21:1-3 in which God tells Abram that he will have descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky. Abram, and his wife Sarai are both well past parenting or even grand-parenting years. Yet God, calling Abram “Abraham” and Sarai as “Sarah” gives them Isaac as their son. Abraham—Ibrahim became the father for Jews, the Muslims and the Christians.
Today’s gospel was from Luke 2:22-40 and told of Jesus presentation and consecration at the temple as a first-born son. The focus, however, was not just on Jesus. The story’s center included Simeon, who was probably quite old, but had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Messiah.
He held the baby Jesus and knew he could die in peace, but first he had a message for Mary that the child, “is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.”
Also in the Temple was Anna, a prophetess who was “well on in years.” She was a widow who had never left the Temple after her husband died. “She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.”
We know nothing is impossible for God. He chose an elderly couple to create a people when there were many young couples around. He chose an elderly man and woman at the temple to recognize who Jesus was, and deliver important messages to His parents.
I try to remind myself that as I get older, God has just as much (if not more) for me to do than He did when I was young. Was He waiting for me to gain some wisdom? Was He waiting for me to have more faith? Maybe it’s just that He has something for each of us to do to serve him, everyday of our lives.