Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the two related stories of how two great men were born, both of them the faithful and great servants of God the Most High, and each entrusted with great missions, to prepare the way for what was to come. They were prepared especially for that, and they were consecrated to God for that purpose.
They were prepared and destined for a life totally dedicated to God and His purposes, and that was why they were what is called the Nazirites, who did not give themselves to the corrupting influences of the world, and fully gave themselves to God and to His will. They were indeed Samson, one of the later judges of Israel, renowned for his strength and his exploits against the Philistines, and John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way for the coming of the Lord.
Although they lived in different era and time, and had different backgrounds and missions in general, but their missions are truly about the same things, that is about bringing the people of God back towards the Lord and to bring help and succour to the people of God living in the darkness and in the suffering of the world.
Samson used his strength and power given from God to fight against the Philistines who were oppressing the people of God at that time. And just as he wrestled lions and bears, he also wrestled against these pagans who oppressed God’s people. And even though he would later fall into temptation in the woman Delilah, eventually he repented, and with the last of his power, he made a building to crash down on the Philistines just as they were making fun of him, killing even more of them in death than when he still lived.
St. John the Baptist, who baptised many people in the Jordan was both the messenger of God’s Good News, proclaiming to the people of the imminent and impending arrival of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and who brought many people to repentance through his repeated and ceaseless calls to the people to seek God’s forgiveness for their sins. He persevered even despite rejection and ridicule by the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
The examples given in the birth, life, and experiences of these two men of God highlighted to us of the nature of our faith itself. God is with us, and He loves us. He continued to repeat this over and over again to us, sending prophets after prophets and messengers after messengers to show His love for us. In Samson, He made His power manifest and liberate His people from persecution, oppression, and suffering.
In John the Baptist, God made clear His care and love for us, seeking our redemption, through our repentance, that we abandon our sinfulness and our sin-tainted past, and leading a new life dedicated solely to the Lord, just as these two men of God had been dedicated to the Lord. He did not want us to perish because of our sinfulness and our tainted selves, and that was why He sent John to us, to lead the way for Christ.
We all know of this love our Lord has for all of us and we should not spurn it as many of our ancestors had done in the past. They rejected the people He had sent to them, ridiculed them, persecuted them, and even spilled their blood. Should we do the same then, brethren in Christ?
No, we should indeed change our ways, repent and promise that we will turn our back on sin, and from now on follow a way of life acceptable and worthy of the Lord our God. We ought to heed what St. John the Baptist had called the people of his time to do, to repent and prepare for the coming of the Lord. Be liberated and be free from the power of sin, just as Samson broke free the bonds of Israel from their Philistine masters.
And ultimately, we too, brothers and sisters in Christ, who belong to the Church of God, have the same responsibility as these saints and holy men of God, to be the extension of God’s will, hands, and power in this world. We ought to go out and proclaim the Good News to others, and help bring God’s people back towards Him. It is through our mouths and through our hands, that we will bring great glory to God and to His people.
Therefore, today, let us renew our faith and our commitment towards the Lord. May the Lord who empowered John the Baptist and Samson, also empower us to do the same as what they had done, and bring the Lord and the Good News of His salvation closer and closer to many, especially to those who are lost. Amen.