Tuesday, 14 January 2020 : 1st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us heard the words of the Scripture which reminded us that all of us should put our complete trust in God and believe in Him and all that He has promised to us. God will never disappoint us and He will always be there for us no matter what. The Lord will provide for us and bless us in His good time, as He has done for His faithful ones as we heard in our Scripture passages today.

In the first reading today we heard the anguish and sorrow of the mother of the prophet Samuel, Hannah, one of the two wives of a man named Elkanah. Elkanah had many children with Penninah, his other wife, while Hannah had borne him none. At that time, for a married woman to have borne no children or to be considered as barren was a great humiliation and could even be considered as a sign of divine displeasure or a curse against the woman. Such woman was usually disliked and ostracised by the society at large.

That was why there was such a great pressure on Hannah to give a child to her husband, and on top of that, Penninah often teased her and ridiculed her because of her jealousy that Elkanah still loved Hannah more despite Penninah having given him many children. Hannah was therefore at her wits end and came before the Lord seeking for solace and help, throwing herself at His presence and surrendering everything to Him.

The Lord heard her prayers and answered her. She bore a son, Samuel, whom God honoured by calling him to be a great prophet, and also appointed Judge of Israel during the transition years to the monarchy, guiding the people of God through the difficult years and trials, remembered as a great prophet of God. And Hannah would be forever remembered and honoured as the mother of this great prophet. She was also given more children to replace Samuel, whom she promised and offered to God, thanking Him for all He had done for her.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of another story of God’s providence and love for His people, as we heard of how the Lord Jesus cast out evil spirits from a possessed man in a synagogue at the beginning of His ministry. The possessed man was beset by the demons who recognised Jesus for Who He was, the Son of God and Saviour of the world. The Lord commanded the evil spirit to leave the man, and it had to obey the Lord’s command and leave the man freed from his earlier torments.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what we have heard from all these truths from the Scriptures are reminders for us that God is always ever loving and compassionate towards us, full of mercy and full of concern, caring for us and listening to our pleas for help. He did not turn a deaf ear or a blind eye against our afflictions, but He will do whatever is in His will to help us, in His own time. As long as we believe in God and put our trust in Him, we really will not be disappointed.

But are we able to put our trust in Him? More often than not we put our trust in other things of this world instead rather than in God. We believe more in the strength of our own flesh and in the depth of our own intellect and wisdom thinking that we know how to solve everything. We only seek God when we have nothing else to turn to and we end up often forgetting about Him when we are in good times again. And when we do not get what we want, we become angry at God and we distance ourselves from Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we live our lives in this world today, we need to realise that without God our existence will be miserable and meaningless, and without God our lives truly have no real significance. Yet, we are often too proud and too egoistic, too filled with desire and therefore became too distracted and we are unable to trust God and have faith in Him as we should have. We need to open our hearts and minds, and allow God to enter into them, throwing away all of our pride and excessive desires that prevented us from reaching out to God.

Let us all be inspired by the faith and courage of Hannah in seeking God even when she was already so troubled and challenged, and let us all trust that God can heal us from our afflictions and that He will be with us throughout the journey of our lives. May the Lord guide us in our journey and may He strengthen us in our faith from now on. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

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