Sunday, December 18, 2005



DECEMBER 19, 2005

JUDGES 13:2-7, 24-25
There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites,
whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no
children. An angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to
her, "Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will
conceive and bear a son. Now, then, be careful to take no wine or
strong drink and to eat nothing unclean. As for the son you will
conceive and bear, no razor shall touch his head, for this boy is to
be consecrated to God from the womb. It is he who will begin the
deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines." The woman
went and told her husband, "A man of God came to me; he had the
appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed. I did not ask him
where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. But he said to
me, `You will be with child and will bear a son. So take neither
wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall
be consecrated to God from the womb, until the day of his death.'"
The woman bore a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up and the
Lord blessed him; the Spirit of the Lord stirred him.

LUKE 1:5-25
In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named
Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the
daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous
in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of
the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was
barren and both were advanced in years. Once when he was serving
as priest in his division's turn before God, according to the
practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the
sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole
assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the
incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at
the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what
he saw, and fear came upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not
be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife
Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you
will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for
he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither
wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even
from his mother's womb, and he will turn many of the children of
Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit
and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to
prepare a people fit for the Lord." Then Zechariah said to the
angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is
advanced in years." And the angel said to him in reply, "I am
Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to
announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and
unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you
did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper
time." Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were
amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came
out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had
seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but
remained mute. Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he
went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she
went into seclusion for five months, saying, "So has the Lord done
for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace
before others."

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."

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the continued & speedy recovery of Mike Torres.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Wedding Anniversary: Teresa & Johnny Ng
- Wedding Anniversary: Dr. & Mrs. Alan T. Chu
- Wedding Anniversary: Arvin & Melanie Lim
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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