Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear of two joyful and very grateful women, for what God had done unto them, as a sign of God’s faithfulness and grace to all those who had placed their complete trust in Him. The first woman is Hannah, the second wife of Eliakim and the mother of Samuel, the prophet of God and Judge over Israel. The second woman is none other than Mary, the mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ.
Both of them had been granted great graces by the Lord, and even more so for the second one, that is Mary. Hannah prayed before God with her whole heart and attention at the House of God as she was unable to have a child with her husband, and although he loved her more than Peninah, the other wife, but the latter bore him ten children while Hannah had none.
Peninah often ridiculed her and made fun of her because of her barrenness and inability to bear children. Distraught over this and deeply troubled, she had nowhere else to turn but to turn to the Lord, who succoured her and rescued her from her troubles. She was given her first son, Samuel, whom she dedicated and consecrated to the Lord to be His servant forever.
Hannah sought the Lord for help and she was truly sincere. And the Lord heard her and answered her prayers. This emotion of joy and happiness of having herself heard by the Lord is reflected in the Song of Hannah, which tone is similar to what Mary in the Gospel today sang, the song known as the Magnificat, a great expression of joy and praise to God, as reflected by the words of that beautiful hymn to the Lord.
In that, Mary thanked God for what He had done for those who trust in Him. It is not so much that God would punish those who are rich, privileged or with power. God does not discriminate between His people by their background, possessions or other attributes. All are equal before God, equally loved and with equal opportunities at receiving His bountiful mercy.
The key learning point from the Scripture Readings today is that God rewards those who are faithful to Him, and those who put their trust completely to Him. He rewards not those who boast of themselves, but instead He blesses those who boast of the Lord and His love. Indeed, what Mary did was truly boasting in the Lord, announcing before all the whole world, and we still continue to echo this song regularly in our prayers and devotions, in our observation of the daily Divine Office, that the Lord has done great things for His servants who entrust themselves to Him.
In our world today it is difficult for us to put our trust in the Lord, for it is often that we put our trust in ourselves first. We rely on things of this world first, on our own power and abilities before we put our trust in God. The tendency is for us to follow our heart’s desire rather than to listen to the Lord. Temptation of Satan in this world is truly plentiful, and he never runs out of tactics to trap us and bring about our downfall.
This coming Christmas is both therefore a challenge and opportunity for all of us. It is a challenge for us to break free of our mindset and enslavement to our desires and greed, and it is thus also an opportunity, for us to seek the Lord anew and rediscover our faith in God, through sincere and genuine celebration of this feast of Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
You see, brothers and sisters in Christ, how committed is the Lord in His desire to help us all, that He extends Himself as the perfect Gift for mankind, the gift of everlasting and true Love. The blessings which Mary sung about has been given to all of us freely without charge, as long as we believe and put our trust in Him. Yet it is also a challenge for us all, as it is not easy for us to break free from our dependence on this world and its various things.
Temptations will be aplenty, brethren, and it is now up to us to challenge ourselves as we approach Christmas. Let us ask ourselves, are we ready to welcome the Lord into our midst? Have our words, actions and deeds truly represent our nature as the children of God? Thus, from now on, let us all put our trust in God, commit ourselves to change our ways in accordance to what God had taught us. Be prepared and let us welcome the coming of Christ into our midst in this commemoration of Christmas with open minds, heart and soul. God bless us all. Amen.
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