36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. 37 And she was a widow until fourscore and four years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. 38 Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel.
Origen: From which it is plain that she possessed a multitude of other virtues, and mark how she resembles Simeon in his goodness, for they were both in the temple together, anti both counted worthy of prophetic grace, as it follows, And she coming in at this very instant, gave thanks to the Lord.
Bede: Anna signifies the Church, who at present is indeed a widow by the death of her Husband; the number also of the years of her widowhood marks the time of the Church, at which established in the body, she is separated from the Lord. For seven times twelve make eighty-four, seven indeed referring to the course of this world, which revolves in seven days; but twelve had reference to the perfection of Apostolic teaching, and therefore the Universal Church, or any faithful soul which strives to devote the whole period of its life to the following of Apostolic practice, is said to serve the Lord for eighty-four years.
39 And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth.
Theophylact: Bethlehem was indeed their city, their paternal city, Nazareth the place of their abode.
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong, full of wisdom; and the grace of God was in him.
Theophylact: If while yet a little child, He had displayed His wisdom, He would have seemed a miracle, but together with the advance of age He gradually shewed Himself, so as to fill the whole world. For not as receiving wisdom is He said to be strengthened in spirit. For that which is most perfect in the beginning, how can that become any more perfect. Hence it follows, Filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was in him.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).