DAILY MASS READINGS (December 22, 2018)


Reading 1 (1 SAMUEL 1:24-28)

A reading from the 1st Book of Samuel

In those days,
Hannah brought Samuel with her,
along with a three-year-old bull,
an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine,
and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh.
After the boy’s father had sacrificed the young bull,
Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said:
“Pardon, my lord!
As you live, my lord,
I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD.
I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request.
Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD;
as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD.”
She left Samuel there.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8ABCD)

R. (see 1a) My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“My heart exults in the LORD,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The bows of the mighty are broken,
while the tottering gird on strength.
The well-fed hire themselves out for bread,
while the hungry batten on spoil.
The barren wife bears seven sons,
while the mother of many languishes.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“The LORD puts to death and gives life;
he casts down to the nether world;
he raises up again.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich,
he humbles, he also exalts.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
“He raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap he lifts up the poor,
To seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (LUKE 1:46-56)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months
and then returned to her home.

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: Hannah was one of the daughters of Elkanah the Zuphite, the other one being Peninnah. Unlike Peninnah who has two children, Hannah on the other hand was barren. At that time for the early Israelites, if a woman is barren, then she is believed to be cursed from giving birth. One time when they were at Shiloh, she prayed to the Lord to bless her with a child. Eli the priest thought she was a drunkard who drank a lot of liquor, but he made Hannah return to her home and blessed the day when God would answer her prayer. And at that moment, she gave birth to a son and named him “Samuel,” which means “name of God,” for it was what she asked for. Then during the weaning, she offered Samuel at the temple of the Lord, bringing with her the prescribed requirements according to the Mosaic Law. She handed over Samuel to Eli and left her son there. And then she began echoing her song of thanksgiving to the Lord who has shown mercy to the weak, especially for granting her fertility in her womb. The song of Hannah echoes the Magnificat of our dear Blessed Mother Mary. During the Vespers, this hymn is being sung, whereas during the Lauds, the Benedictus or Canticle of Zechariah is being sung, and during the Compline ,the Nunc Dimittis or Canticle of Simeon is being sung. The word “Magnificat” is Latin for “to magnify the greatness”. In fact, Mary praised God for the great wonders revealed to a lowly and humble servant. Remember that even though Saint Gabriel has greeted her ‘kecharitomene—full of grace,’ it was at her fiat that she called herself a “handmaid of the Lord”. She exemplifies this title again at this hymn, yet she extols the greatness of our Lord as a prophecy that salvation is not only meant for those in Israel and the upright, but also the weak, the oppressed, the outcast, and the Gentiles. It is almost similar to Hannah’s song of thanksgiving, but for Mary, she truly recognizes God’s salvation and visitation by her giving birth to the Savior and the giving birth of her old cousin Elizabeth to Saint John the Baptist, the Precursor of the Lord. Both these two women teach us that the greatness of God is meant to be shown with appreciation and generosity. At the point of his death in Alaska, the famous Christopher Mccandless wrote in his pocket diary: “Happiness is only real when shared.” After the Lord reveals his wonders to everyone, it now becomes our mission to proclaim and give witness to such great deeds. So as we mark the end of our Advent journey and prepare for Christmas, let us show our thanksgiving and gratitude to God for his good deeds shown to us and others, and also share that happiness we are feeling. May we make Christmas an extended celebration by extending our hearts and minds towards each other and towards those who are physically and spiritually poor, afflicted, oppressed, and neglected.

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