1 Samuel 1:24-28
1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd
As we approach closer to Christmas, the readings for today are, indeed, joyous ones. The responsorial psalm is replete with expressions of joy and celebration. The first reading and the gospel present some other themes as well, namely, motherhood, faith, and trust.
Both Hannah and Mary demonstrate incredible motherly love and heartfelt trust and faith. I think of Hannah traveling with little Samuel, newly weaned still in her arms. She remembers her prayers for him and her commitment to God that if she were granted a son that she would give him to the Lord. Incredibly, she does not flinch from that promise she made. It is unfathomable for me to comprehend her willingness to give him up. While I may understand the promise made in desperation for a child, the fulfilling of that promise is beyond my comprehension at least at the heart level. The incredible strength and faith in God that Hannah had is admirable. Would that I could be so unwavering. She did continue to visit Samuel once a year yet that could be heartbreaking each time to leave him again. She was able to see beyond her own needs to fulfilling God’s will and the good that it would bring to so many. Perhaps she displays true motherly love in seeing beyond her needs and wants to the future of her child. Samuel was an amazing judge leading his people with wisdom and love. Certainly, as our children grow we “let them go” more and more – to school, to college, to new loves and families but usually still connected by a longer and less restraining tie.
We have heard much in this Advent season about Mary’s acceptance of God’s will. The gospel for today eloquently relays her thoughts and responses. While Hannah had the wisdom of years, Mary is just a very young girl speaking these words. She trusts beyond compare of what God’s plans are for her and her child. I wonder what the conversations were between her and Elizabeth. There they are – two women talking about the miracles in their lives yet not knowing how any of it would unfold. We must give tribute to mothers everywhere as they, too, live with the miracle of children in their lives and the hope in the future for each of these children. Perhaps one of our take away lessons today is how to facilitate for ourselves and others the continued recognition of these miracles and inspire all to the hope that the future holds when we put it in the hands of God!
By Nancy Shirley