Judges 13:2-7, 24-25a
"It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel." Judges 13:5
Have you ever noticed how many times God has included ordinary people in the Plan of Salvation? One would think that God is having a problem being God! If God is so powerful, why doesn’t God do it all? Why does God depend upon us humans to bring about Salvation, Redemption, Everlasting Life?
It seems that God has fallen into a pattern. The two Scripture passages for today’s Liturgy illustrate this pattern in clear and simple terms. When things seem to be stalled or even going backwards, God sends someone who helps us begin the movement back to God. In the first reading, a barren woman gives birth to a son who prepares to deliver Israel from the hands of its enemies. The son’s name: Samson. He was one of the many messengers that God sent to rescue Israel from their troubles because of their infidelity.
In today’s Gospel, we hear how God sends us John the Baptist to prepare us for the coming of God’s Son, Jesus. John, like Samson, was born of a woman who had been barren all of her married life, and was now thought to be too old to have children. God proves to us once again that nothing is impossible with God.
When we begin to reflect in a prayerful way upon our lives, we begin to see that God sends us so many people who prepare us for the coming of the Lord, Jesus. Some of us are so focused on looking for the big "miracle," the extraordinary events that we think are God’s signs of Love and Life, that we miss the ordinary miracles of everyday, the daily signs of God’s Love and Life. Some of us are like Zachariah, John’s father, so full of questions and doubts, that we miss the true miracles that God keeps sending us as preparation for the coming of Jesus in our lives.
The people who prepare us for the coming of Jesus are all of the ordinary people who call us to live faithfully, a life of faith, hope and love. Sometimes, these messengers come in the midst of our darkness and they pull us out of the doldrums of hopelessness and depression. Sometimes, these messengers confirm our deepest convictions and longings, to be united with God and with one another as we make our way through life. God never tires of sending us messengers who prepares us to walk the Way of the Lord and guide our feet into the way of Peace.
As we prepare of the Feast of Christmas, the Miracle of the Incarnation, the Birth of the Baby Jesus, let us be attentive to all of the many messengers that God sends us to prepare for that most Wonderful Gift of All, God’s Incarnate Love!
Fr. Clemente Barron, C.P. is a member of the General Council of the Passionist Congregation and is stationed in Rome.