First Reading: Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
Psalm: Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17
Gospel: Luke 1:5-25
In today’s readings we have the miraculous conception of two
children Samson and John the Baptist by mothers who were sterile.
In the time of Jesus, to be barren was no blessing. To be sterile or
fruitless, was to be without honor and also very embarrassing. We
all want to be remembered. We all want to leave something of
ourselves behind. Everyone longs for immortality and hopes that the
world will not be quite the same because we have been there. We
attempt to leave something behind so that others will know that we
have passed this way.
Some build empires of gold and silver, of concrete and steel, of
power and prestige. Others leave behind volumes of what they have
written in the hope that someone will be touched, moved, or healed
by what they have said. Still others build empires of flesh and
blood: sons and daughters to carry their name into the future, and
to guarantee life for the future of the human race.
To be barren is no blessing. To be sterile, to be fruitless is
without honor and embarrassing. But all of us are barren. All of
us have areas of life, which bear no fruit. All of us come up short
in many ways. And sometimes after building empires of gold and
silver, of concrete and steel, of power and prestige, of flesh and
blood, we sense that we have missed the point.
We know that we have lost our way because we failed to build the
empire within us. We have failed to let God reign in our heart. It
is the Lord our God who must work in our lives. It is he alone who
can build the empire within us. Often it seems he builds the best,
the most lasting, the most enduring kingdoms in the hearts of the
barren. It is in the detached heart, in the unencumbered heart,
that God can find a place to build and fashion his kingdom of the
John the Baptist came from a barren womb, so did Samson and some
others who served the Lord. Jesus came from a virgin womb, from a
heart reserved for God alone. Such is God’s way with people. We
build, we fail, we strive, we lose, because our kingdoms are our own.
Yet, when God works and enters our lives, miracles happen and our
lives are full. So let us prepare for the coming of God this
Advent, for his birth within the empire of our hearts. This is the
time and the season of the Spirit’s reign when the barren give birth
and bear the fruit of God.
“Lord Jesus, you bring hope and restoration to your people. Restore
and strengthen Christian family life today. Help me to love and
serve my family. May your love rule in all my relationships and
remove any barriers to peace and harmony.”