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Recognizing the ‘Time of God’

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:27-28

“I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:27-28

“When a man talks from his heart in a moment of truth, he speaks poetry.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Our appropriately paired Readings today (1 Samuel: 1:24-28 & Luke 1:46-56) perfectly paired in actuality, are proclaimed every year during the Liturgical Season of Advent on the 22nd of December. In our 1st Reading from the First Book of Samuel, we find ourselves in the immediate aftermath of what is known as The Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10) while today’s beloved and oft-quoted Gospel Passage captures Mary’s Magnificat.

Contained in these two stories are the tales of two very improbable pregnancies, separated in time by about 1,400 years. Here too we have two women, Hannah and Mary, both of whom offer up their sons, Hannah offering Samuel to God by way of the temple priest Eli while Mary would go on to offer up her Son to the cross. In faithfully keeping her promise to God, Hannah was blessed with five more children. Samuel in turn grew up strong in the Spirit of God. Jesus would of course go on to fulfill every Old Testament prophecy, a few which have been proclaimed by way of the Daily Readings during the early stages of the Advent Season:

“He will be a descendant of King David” (Jeremiah 23:5).

“He will be born in the town of Bethlehem.” (Micah 5:2).

“He will be born to a virgin.” (Isaiah 7:14).

“He will begin his ministry in Galilee.”(Isaiah 9:1-2).

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“He will enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey.”(Zechariah 9:9).

“He will be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver.” (Zechariah 11:4).

In his Angelus Address on December 19th of 1999, then Pope now Saint John Paul II explains that “The Mother of Christ teaches us to recognize the time of God, the favorable moment when he comes into our life and asks for a prompt and generous response. The mystery of the Holy Night, which occurred historically 2000 years ago, becomes a reality as a spiritual event in the “today” of the liturgy. The word, who took up his dwelling in Mary’s womb, comes knocking at the door of every person’s heart with particular intensity at this coming Christmas.” Yes, as Christmas approaches we want to know more about this Christ who is to be born. Who is he, and what does his life mean for us? The heart of Jesus reflects the very heart of God: intimacy, divinity relationship and peace

In Mary’s Magnificat we see gratitude, humility, and vibrant hope in a God who keeps his promises while delivering a stunning victory for the meek. Those who are haughty, secular, and prideful are “sent away empty.“ We too are called to empty ourselves of these disordered traits so as to instead pursue the path of generosity, charity, self-control, modesty and love. In fact we must strive to echo Mary’s cry. Our souls must proclaim the greatness of the Lord. We must seek to serve rather than be served (Luke 22:24-27) so that our spirit, like Mary’s, can rejoice in God our Savior, whose entry into the world we will celebrate in less than three days.

The Gospel of Luke will go on to tell us that at the moment of Christ’s birth, there was no room for the Holy Family in the Inn and that Jesus came into the world in a manger (2:7). We must seek to make room in the Inn of our hearts this Christmas so that we, like Mary, can become full of God’s grace, which had the power to transform us.

For the Almighty has done great things for us (Luke 1:49), and will continue to do so. . . if we let Him.

For more on these Readings, please visit my essay from last year:


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