From a Creighton Student's Perspective
December 19, 2011
Sophomore, Biology Major, Spanish Minor
The first reading today is the birth announcement of Samson, the son of Manoah and his barren wife. An angel appears to Manoah’s wife and tells her that she is to give birth to a son who will help to deliver Israel. Judges, in numerous instances, tells about how Israel has done evil, and as punishment, they are oppressed by the Philistines and ask God for help. In this instance, God sends an angel to foretell how Israel will be delivered. The combination of God’s power over the people and their resistance to trusting in God causes Israel to only be partially delivered from oppression; Samson “will begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5).
In both readings, the son will become a Nazarite, which is a person dedicated to serving God. I actually recently learned about this in the theology class I am in currently; a Nazarite takes a vow and follows the Law of Nazarite in which one cannot drink alcohol, eat unclean food, or shave one’s hair. To be a Nazarite, one takes the vow typically as an adult as a choice. Samson and John, however, are chosen by God to each become a Nazarite from birth. It becomes clear that we can expect great things from these children until their deaths.
In both the first reading and the Gospel story, the women have faith in what the angel is telling each of them. They find it easy to trust in God’s promises. Other people, namely their husbands, are not as quick to believe, but God makes sure that everyone comes to believe what is true. After reading the section not included in today’s passage, it says that Manoah wants proof; because of this, God sends the angel to reappear to Manoah and Manoah’s wife. In the Gospel, because Zechariah is hesitant to believe what the angel is saying, the angel makes him mute so that he may come to believe. May we learn to accept what God lays out in his will for us because otherwise, we begin to impede on the effectiveness of God’s will. When we accept and have faith in God’s will, we can appreciate our gifts. God has intervened in a great way to save Israel with these two birth stories, with his ultimate gift being the birth of Jesus, which we will celebrate in a few short days. Mary was like the women in today’s stories in that she believed with all of her heart, and thus, we celebrate this season. May you all have a merry and blessed Christmas!
Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook