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December 22, 2011

Today’s readings:
1 Samuel 2:1-8
Luke 1:46-56

God is a God who overturns and radically changes lives. In doing so, He is able to do the impossible. God enabled the barren Hannah to conceive and bear a son. God enabled the virgin Mary to conceive and bear a son.

As we face the challenges and trials of life, we look to such a God. When we are down, we know He can raise us up. When we are up, we are mindful that He can bring us down. He is an all-knowing God who judges our deeds (2 Sm 2:3b), knowing what is best for us.

See what our God can do or cause to happen.

Up to Down
Down to Up
1 Sm 2:4 Bows of mighty are broken The tottering gird on strength
1 Sm 2:5a Well-fed become hungry Hungry become well-fed
1 Sm 2:5b Mother of many languishes Barren wife bears 7 sons
1 Sm 2:6a Puts to death Gives life
1 Sm 2:6b Casts down to nether world Raises up
1 Sm 2:7a Makes poor Makes rich
1 Sm 2:7b Humbles Exalts
Lk 1:52 Throws down rulers Lifts up the lowly
Lk 1:53 Sends rich away empty Fills hungry with good things

How do we look to God acting in our life to raise us up and not bring us down?

First, be humble. Walk humbly with our God. Especially when we are blessed with good things, we should not sink to sinful pride, but acknowledge that apart from God we are nothing. Know that God disperses “the arrogant of mind and heart.” (Lk 1:51b). When we accomplish things, including spiritual work, we acknowledge that such is done only by the grace of God and the power of His Spirit. “Speak boastfully no longer, nor let arrogance issue from your mouths.” (2 Sm 2:3a).

Second, fear God, in order to receive His mercy. “His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.” (Lk 1:50). We stand in awe of His great majesty. We give Him the worship that is His due. We obey His commandments. We walk the straight path of righteousness. We carry out our task as His servants, mindful that He helps His servants as He is mindful of His mercy (Lk 1:54).

Third, rejoice always. Whatever is happening to our lives at the moment, we know that Jesus has already redeemed us, that we are children of God whom He loves, that God has a great and wonderful plan for our lives. We even see suffering as redemptive. We can always look to God raising us in His time and in His way. In the meantime, we know we can trust in Him. Like Mary, we can proclaim, “my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” (Lk 1:47).

Fourth, proclaim Him and His great majesty. Witness to your faith. Do the work of evangelization and mission. Be the instrument of God’s salvation that He intends for you to be. Desire to share with others your joy in Christ. Again like Mary, say, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord” (Lk 1:46).

As God decides to lift us up and exalt us, He goes all the way. “He raises the needy from the dust; from the ash heap he lifts up the poor, to seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage.” (1 Sm 2:8). From sitting on the ash heap to sitting on a throne! Like what God did for Mary, He looked upon her lowliness and did great things for her, such that all ages call her blessed (Lk 1:48-49a).

We are descendants of Abraham and are heirs to God’s promise to our fathers (Lk 1:55). We face a glorious and victorious future. Let us then respond like Hannah, and worship the Lord, for “holy is his name.” (Lk 1:49b).

“My heart exults in the Lord,
my horn is exalted in my God.
I have swallowed up my enemies;
I rejoice in my victory.
There is no Holy One like the Lord;
there is no Rock like our God.”
(1 Sm 2:1-2)

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