Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Tuesday word, 19 Dec 06
Third Advent Tuesday (19 Dec 2006) Jdg 13. 2-7,24-25a; Ps 71; Lk 1. 5-25
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
When I was a boy I found it odd to hear the annunciation of Samson’s birth to his mother, the wife of Zorah. In my imagination Samson was so far from Jesus, especially as an infant.
It was not until 1980 that I began to appreciate Luke’s skill in proclaiming the good news of Jesus birth. That year I was led through the New Testament by a fine teacher--who, it happens is also named Luke. As my teacher, Luke, opened the world of the New Testament to me I began to appreciate deeply the Old Testament.
The final week of Advent, welcomes us into a particular nuance or aspect of the one paschal mystery celebrate over an entire year: the Incarnation, God became one with us so that we could become one with God.
Recalling God’s intention to make a barren woman the wife of Samson--to deliver Israel from the Philistines--is one more prophetic pointer to John. Being set apart for the Lord for this task made Samson great. To be set apart to prepare the way of Messiah Jesus, who delivers us from our sins, made John the Baptizer great, as Gabriel told his father, Zechariah.
Zechariah could not accept the greatness of his son to be or the greatness of God for whom no thing is impossible, including the Incarnation, God taking flesh to deliver us. Now is a good time to ask the converted Zechariah, who will always speak, to intercede for us so that we can more deeply accept that Jesus is one with us, already delivering us into his new life. Even Samson was never stronger. Now I would sorely miss Samson in the run up to Christmas.
Photo by Andreas Praefcke, 2006, who released it into the public domain.