Trust Leads to Mighty Deeds

Homily for December 19th | Monday of the 4th Week of Advent

In our readings this morning, we hear the beginnings of the lives of two people who would become so central in the history of salvation: Samson and John the Baptist. Between the two, there are quite a few parallels.

Both Samson and John had been dedicated to God before they were born…really even before they were conceived – conceived, mind you, by women who both experienced difficulties with fertility. The Lord announced their births through His Angels, proclaiming the great deeds that would be accomplished through their hands and words. Samson would eventually become one of the Judges of Israel, a leader at the time when they were constantly harassed by the Philistines. It was Samson who would bring them to freedom. In the case of St. John the Baptist, the Lord would use him to bring the people of Israel to freedom. He would be the Herald of the Messiah, guiding and showing the Israelites and all of God’s people the path of repentance and conversion, bringing them to freedom from the bondage of sin and death.

The stories of these two biblical figures reminds us of something important. It also makes a connection to the Gospel that we heard yesterday, the story of the Annunciation to St. Joseph. The lesson is this: God can accomplish great things – sometimes things that might even seem impossible – in and through us if we simply listen and respond with a generous heart.

If we were in Manoah’s shoes, if we were in Zechariah’s shoes, would we have believed the message of the angels that our barren wives would conceive? I would venture to say that many of us would struggle to have the faith to do that. We would struggle to be able to bring ourselves to trust that God was doing something great in that moment. Our responses would have likely been something like: “Come on, get serious.” And yet, the Lord accomplished exactly what He said He would. He did do something great. He did allow the barren to conceive and those children would eventually go on to become instruments of God’s grace.

The Lord wants to do the same in and through us. He wants us to have faith in Him, to believe that He can and will do something powerful through our lives. He wants us to trust Him. Look at the examples we have throughout scripture of what the Lord was able to do for humanity when certain individuals simply trusted in Him.

Today, may we ask for an increase in that grace in our own lives, to trust the Lord more deeply and that the Lord might show us what He wants to accomplish through us. May we respond with generous hearts to His will, to His invitation to be the best disciples of Jesus that we can be. Because if we have that sense of trust, if we respond wholeheartedly to His will, our yes might just change the world.

Painting: Samson Captured by the Philistines, Guercino. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Wikicommons. CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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