Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Third Advent Station - The Angelic Announcement

To Manoah and His Wife

Old Testament Scripture (Judges 13: 2-7, 24)

There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren; she had borne no children.The Angel of Yahweh appeared to this woman and said to her, 'You are barren and have had no child, but you are going to conceive and give birth to a son. From now on, take great care. Drink no wine or fermented liquor, and eat nothing unclean. For you are going to conceive and give birth to a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy is to be God's nazirite from his mother's womb; and he will start rescuing Israel from the power of the Philistines.'

The woman then went and told her husband, 'A man of God has just come to me, who looked like the Angel of God, so majestic was he. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name.But he said to me, "You are going to conceive and will give birth to a son. From now on, drink no wine or fermented liquor, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy is to be God's nazirite from his mother's womb to his dying day." '

The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and Yahweh blessed him;


Meditation

Throughout the living of the covenant, the Lord sought to guide his people to the Messiah. Manoah and his wife reveal that the Messiah can work where the world belives he cannot. Even barrennes is not an obstacle to his fertility. The strength of Samson foreshadows the very strength of Christ himself.

Samson ripped apart physical chains and brought down trhe temple of his captors. Christ destroyed the very chains of death itself and allowed the Temple of his body to be torn down and then raised up in glory. Our salvation comes only from the Lord and in no force of our own.


New Testament Scripture (Luke 1: 5-17)

In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron. Both were upright in the sight of God and impeccably carried out all the commandments and observances of the Lord. But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both advanced in years.

Now it happened that it was the turn of his section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God when it fell to him by lot, as the priestly custom was, to enter the Lord's sanctuary and burn incense there. And at the hour of incense all the people were outside, praying. Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense. The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear.

But the angel said to him, 'Zechariah, do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you shall name him John. He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink; even from his mother's womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the Israelites to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to reconcile fathers to their children and the disobedient to the good sense of the upright, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.'


Prayer

Loving God and Father, time and time again, you bring fruit out of human barrenness. With the words of angels you communicated to the chosen people of the covenant but now we have your Word himself as our Lord and Savior.

Help us always to hear Christ speaking in our hearts. He alone can relive our fears and anxieties. Only Christ can bring our life to this world. In his Holy Name then, give children to those who ask and give faith to those who are barren of heart, especially those in our families. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny,
From depths of Hell thy people save
And give them vict'ry o'er the grave.
Rejoice, rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

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