Homily preached by Fr Daniel Trott
on Wednesday 19th December 2018
Judges 13.2–7,24–end; Psalm 71.3–8; Luke 1.5–25
Because I didn’t check ahead when I chose the readings for last Saturday’s Ember Day, today’s gospel reading is a slightly longer version of the one many of us heard a few days ago – but the emphasis is different. Last Saturday we heard the call of Jeremiah to be a prophet, and we thought about how God calls us to be prophetic, to prepare the way of the Lord.
Today the gospel reading has been paired with a very similar story from the Old Testament – the story of the conception of Samson – and that Old Testament reading was followed by verses from a psalm which reminded us, ‘Upon you have I leaned from my birth, when you drew me from my mother’s womb’.
Unlike Jeremiah and John the Baptist, we’re not all called to be full-time prophets, but we are all called. The stories of angels visiting barren women (or their husbands) and telling them they’re going to have a child are meant to remind us that God knows each of us before we’re born, and he has great hopes for us.
In many of the biblical call stories, God makes it very clear what the call consists in. Samson is to be a ‘nazirite’, someone who has been consecrated to God. John the Baptist is to prepare the way of the Lord.
But for most of us it’s not that simple. It’s not clear to us who God wants us to become, what his hopes for us are.
At this time of year we wait for the birth of Jesus, the one we describe as ‘true God and true man’. For us, Jesus sums up what it means to be God and he sums up what it means to be human.
When we look at Jesus, we see someone who is free, someone who is alive, someone who fulfils himself by giving himself away. If we believe that Jesus not only shows us what God is like but also shows us what humanity can and should be like, then perhaps emulating Jesus is a good start in our quest to become the peopleGod is calling us to be.
What makes you free? What makes you alive? How do you give yourself away? Perhaps if we paid attention to these questions, we would discover our calling.