Weekly Reflection (30 Dec 2018) – Alternative Readings

The Holy Family Year C

1 Samuel 1:20-22,24-28
1 John 3:1-2,21-24
Luke 2:41-52

Theme of the week: Faced with the choice between God’s will and our will, are we prepared to let God’s will prevail?

In the First Reading, Hannah, wife of Elkanah, was barren and had long suffered the taunts of her husband’s other wives. She prayed for a child and made the vow that if God grants her this wish, she would offer her child to God. So when Samuel was borne to her, she decided to offer the boy to the service of the Lord. She bought the child to the temple of the Lord at Shiloh and handed him over to the priest Eli. In making this decision, Hannah made a great sacrifice, allowing her maternal ties to yield to God’s parentage of Samuel. Let us reflect on the times in our lives when we are confronted with the choice between God’s will and ours. Faced with such a dilemma, am I prepared to follow the example of Hannah and let our will succumb to God’s? After all, is this not what I meant each time I pray the Lord’s Prayer, when I say “thy will be done“?

In line with the Christmas theme, the Second Reading assures us that, by our Saviour’s incarnation as a human child, we are already God’s children. We have a merciful Father who, in spite of our sins, will never disown us. Being God’s children, we inherit His promise of salvation. All we need to do is to inherit the promise is to obey his commandments. And one day, “we will be like him, for we will see him as he is” (verse 2). This, my dear friends, is the promise of Christmas.

The Gospel this week presents the only recorded episode of Jesus’ childhood. We see that from a young age, Jesus is acutely aware of who he is and what his mission on earth was: that is, to attend to his Father’s affairs. Also significant in this passage is another example of Mary unquestioning obedience to God. For when the child Jesus said that he must be in his Father’s house (verse 49), the Gospel tells us Mary and Joseph “did not understand what he said to them” (verse 50). Having searched for their boy “in great anxiety” (verse 48) for three days, it would have excusable for Mary and Joseph to be upset at what Jesus said. However, instead of being upset, Mary “treasured all these things in her heart” (verse 51) in spite of her not fully understanding what the child Jesus said. Like Hannah in the First Reading, the episode laid the foundation for Mary’s yielding of her maternal ties to that of God’s parentage of Jesus. In years to come, Mary would become more aware of the sacrifice that was required of her. The pinnacle of this sacrifice was her acceptance of her Son’s suffering and death as part of God’s plan for the salvation of humankind.

Let us heed the example of Mary, that while we often do not fully comprehend the will of God, we would treasure what is revealed to us in our hearts. When called to do so, let us be prepared to let our will succumb to God’s. Shalom.


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