Saturday, 19 December 2020 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we heard from the Scriptures we heard of the parallel stories of two of God’s trusted servants, namely that of Samson, the famous Judge of Israel, as well as that of St. John the Baptist, the Herald of the Messiah. Both of them were born of a woman who had not been able to conceive children, and then miraculously, they were able to conceive by God’s grace.

And God spoke to both of their parents, through His Angel, by which He revealed how those sons of theirs would become great servants dedicated to Him. They were not to touch alcoholic and strong drinks, and they were to live in the wilderness, as those who have taken the vow of obedience to God, called Nazirites. And thus, the Lord sent His servants into the world at the time when they needed help and guidance.

Samson was sent to the people of God when they were oppressed and suffered under the tyranny of the Philistines, who had overcome them and ruled over them with their mighty power. At that time, the Lord had repeatedly sent Judges, one after another to help His people as they were facing difficulties, trials and challenges from various oppressors and their neighbours because they had not obeyed the Lord and lived in sin.

We saw how the Lord repeatedly showed His care and concern for His people, that He did not want any of them to perish and suffer, and despite their sins and wickedness, He still loved them and wanted them to repent from their sins, and thus, sent to them those whom He had appointed as Judges, as those who were supposed to lead and guide the people to the right path.

Thus, Samson came at the time when the people were groaning and suffering under the heavy hand of the Philistines, and in time, as he grew in age and strength, he led the Israelites in overcoming the Philistines, their oppressors, and crushed them with the might of God on their side. Of course, as we all knew, Samson himself was tempted when the Philistines sent Delilah, a beautiful woman to lead Samson astray, but in the end, although by trickery they managed to blind and subdue Samson, but Samson did one last great act, in crushing many Philistines to death with him, as Samson dedicated his whole life to God.

In this manner, we can see that Samson was in fact the spiritual predecessor of St. John the Baptist. Just as Samson was sent to the Israelites to lead them in their struggle against the Philistines, thus St. John the Baptist was sent to guide the people of God in their long struggle against the tyranny of sin and death by calling them to repentance and to turn wholeheartedly towards God.

And just as Samson came not long before the time of king David, the just and righteous king and servant of God, who led Israel to great glory and final triumph against the Philistines, thus, St. John the Baptist led us all towards the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Saviour of the whole world, Whose birth we rejoice and celebrate in this upcoming Christmas day and season.

That is why, through what we have heard in our Scripture readings today, we are all called to turn towards the Lord and refocus our attention towards Him with all of our hearts. If we do not do so, then our celebration of Christmas is nothing less than empty and meaningless, with just merrymaking and celebrations, but without the right focus and purpose.

All of us should model ourselves on the faith and dedication that both Samson and St. John the Baptist had shown to the Lord. Samson as mentioned, died with many Philistines at the end of his life, while St. John the Baptist remained steadfast in his mission to the very end, not fearing even the king Herod, and consequently was imprisoned, and by the plotting of Herodias, was martyred in prison.

Let us all therefore purify ourselves as we prepare ourselves to celebrate Christmas, purifying our thoughts and our hearts, and rededicating our words and actions, our very being to serve the Lord at all times. Let us no longer tarry and wait, but do whatever we can, and make use of this blessed time of Advent to respond to God’s call with genuine and renewed faith.

May the Lord bless us and guide us in our journey, and may He help us and strengthen us that we may persevere in faith just as Samson and St. John the Baptist had done so. May God be with us always. Amen.

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