Friday, 22 December 2017 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day from the first reading we listened to the reading from the Book of the prophet Samuel, in which the young prophet Samuel was brought to the House of God, in fulfilment of the promise and vow which his parents had made when he was conceived in a miraculous way by God’s grace.

Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was one of the two wives of his father, Eliakim. She has not been able to bear any children, and by the standard and custom of that time, being barren of any children was a very big embarrassment for a wife and a woman. The more children a woman has, the more prestige and honour she was accorded to. And thus, Hannah was very distraught that she has not been able to bear any child at all.

She promised the Lord that she would dedicate and consecrate her firstborn child should He endeavour to allow her to bear a child, and her prayer was indeed heard. Samuel was her firstborn son, and she entrusted him after he was weaned to the Judge of Israel, Eli, and from then on, he became Eli’s student and eventually would succeed him as Judge and leader of the entire nation of Israel.

Hannah was so joyful and so filled with the Holy Spirit that she sang wonderfully from her heart, which we have as our Psalm today, the Song of Hannah. She was filled with righteous joy, because God has listened to her predicament and granted her heart’s desire. She was thankful that God has listened to her plea, as she was ridiculed and oppressed by the other wife of Eliakim, Penninah, who often looked down on her just because she had several children with him.

Then, in the Gospel today, we heard another joyful song, that is the song of Mary, the Magnificat, which she sang full of joy and filled with the Holy Spirit much like that of Hannah in the Old Testament. She was joyful because while she was merely a young and humble servant, a woman without much wealth or significance in the eyes of the world, but she was glorified by God and given the ultimate honour of being the mother of God and Saviour of the world.

In all of these, we can see just how great the joy that happened to the two women, Hannah and Mary. And it is this same joy that each and every one of us should also have in this season of Christmas, as we are just three days away from celebrating this momentous event in our history of mankind. But are we rejoicing for the right reasons? Are we rejoicing because we are happy to have a wonderful break and holiday from our usual busy life and work? Are we rejoicing because we are looking forward to all the festivities and the good food we are going to have?

These should not be the main reason for our joyous celebrations, as the main focus of our celebration and joy should be Christ, and we rejoice because of His coming into this world. Before He came, man long waited for the salvation that God had promised to His people, and they were waiting for the deliverance from the depredation of sin and death. Since He came into this world, a new hope had dawned on all of us, and through Christ, we are able to find our way to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore spend time to prepare ourselves wholeheartedly, that we may be able to celebrate Christmas meaningfully and with true joy, knowing that because of Christ, we have new hope and new life, and all of us who are faithful to Him, will not be disappointed, for He will lead us to a new life and a new existence, and we hope that we will be forever with Him in the glory of everlasting life. May God bless us all. Amen.

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