Wednesday, 22 December 2021 : 4th Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, all of us are reminded of the great love and providence by which God had generously and marvellously cared for us since the very beginning. God has never looked away from us or ignored us when we are in our hour of great distress. Through various ways, He has always reached out to us and wanted to bring us all back to His embrace, to be reunited with us.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Samuel in which the mother of Samuel, Hannah, was about to dedicate her firstborn son to the Lord as she herself had promised. At that time, Hannah was one of the wives of Elkanah, who also had another wife named Penninah. Hannah had not been able to have any son or child with Elkanah while Penninah had borne many sons and children to Elkanah. Children back then were highly regarded as symbols of fertility and prestige for the women, and the apparent barrenness of Hannah was often seen as as sign of someone being cursed or unworthy, and Hannah experienced exactly just that.

Penninah also often bullied Hannah and took pride at the fact that she had borne many children for her husband, while Hannah had none. Although Elkanah did love Hannah more than Penninah, but the fact that she did not have a child and could not bear one still weighed very heavily on her mind. It was at that occasion then that Hannah came seeking the Lord at the House of God, in the presence of the Judge Eli, praying before God and seeking His help and providence. She begged the Lord for His assistance and for her to be rescued from her predicament.

The Lord heard Hannah’s prayer and answered her, and she miraculously bore a child, whom she had promised to the Lord if she were ever to bore one. Her firstborn son was named as Samuel, and was offered to God to be His servant forever. Hannah was very grateful to the Lord for all that He had done for her, praising Him and thanking Him for all that He had blessed her with. Through Him, her shame and predicament had been overcome, a light and hope had returned back to her face and heart once again.

The Lord had done the same to all of us through Mary, as we heard in our Gospel passage today. The Psalm today is Hannah’s song of rejoicing and thanksgiving, for all that the Lord had done for her in removing from her the stain of humiliation and suffering due to her earlier barrenness. And after having offered and entrusted Samuel to the Lord, she was blessed with more children with her husband Elkanah. And in the Gospel passage, we heard Mary, great song of rejoicing that is similar to Hannah’s great song of rejoicing, the Magnificat.

In the Magnificat, Mary, full of the Holy Spirit sang a great song of praise, thanking God for all the wonders He had done for His beloved people, ever since the very beginning of time. God has always ever been faithful to His people and He has always showed His kindness to them, and to all those who have devoted themselves to Him, He has brought them His grace and blessings, as He had done to Abraham and David, fulfilling His promises to them, and bringing into this world its salvation, through none other than Christ, Who was then in Mary’s womb.

As we listened to those words and recalled God’s great and amazing deeds done for our behalf, and as we progress ever closer to Christmas in just a few days’ time, all of us are encouraged to spend the time to deepen our relationship with God, to remember His love and all the blessings He has given us all these while throughout our lives. We are also called to rediscover the love which we should have for the Lord, and to be thankful for everything that He had done for our sake, and foremost of all, for His coming into this world which we celebrate this Christmas.

As the famous words in the Gospel of St. John mentioned, God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son, to be born into the world, the Divine Word Incarnate, to be born of His mother Mary and revealed to the whole world, to all of us, so that through Him, all of us who have lived in darkness may come to see the great light and hope that God alone can bring to our midst. Through Him, the world has the reason to rejoice again, and all of us can finally see hope at the end of our earthly journey, to look up to the hope of everlasting joy and peace in God’s presence.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore focus our attention on the Lord, and do our best to make our upcoming Christmas celebrations a more wholesome and meaningful one. Let us make this Christmas a time of renewal of our faith in God and a rejuvenation of our love for Him. May God be with us all and may His light and hope rekindle in our hearts to continue to desire to seek Him in each and every moments of our lives. Amen.

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