Merry Christmas in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today we are going to reflect on the Canticle of Hannah. Our text is a prayer pronounced by Hannah, to give thanks to God for the birth of her son, Samuel. It is very similar to Psalm 113 and the Magnificat of the Virgin Mary. We can see Ana as a "type" of Maria. Both of God's "servants" gave birth to children through divine intervention who were exclusively dedicated to God.
“Hallelujah”, which means "Praise the Lord", is found at the beginning of ten of the psalms. Psalm 113 presents the majesty of God, along with His mercy in dealing with the humble. Followed by the next five psalms, it was sung in the temple while the Passover lambs were sacrificed. It was also sung on other festive occasions, such as Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Dedication. The Levites, standing before the altar, sang it verse by verse, and the people responded by repeating the verses or singing hallelujahs. It was also sung by families at private Easter celebrations. This was probably the hymn that our Savior and his disciples sang at the conclusion of the Passover supper that they celebrated in the upper room of Jerusalem.
Notice the last verse: “He makes the barren woman live in a family, and lets her rejoice in being the mother of children. Hallelujah."
The Magnificat, which is Latin for the first words, is a song and prayer that comes from the Gospel of Luke 2: 46-55. It repeats the words that Mary, mother of Jesus, addressed to God at the time when her relative, Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." The Magnificat expresses Mary's personal assimilation of these great biblical ideas:
• God's mercy,
• God's preference for the poor and humble,
• His power, holiness, and faithfulness, and
• the promises He made to the patriarchs.
The Magnificat also contains a prophecy: "All generations will call me blessed" because of her Son, Jesus Christ.
Hannah was a barren woman, but she not only intended to have a child, but to give him to the service of God. Indeed, her firstborn son, Samuel, became the last of Israel's judges.
The time of the judges covers a period of about three hundred and fifty years, from the death of Joshua to the rise of Samuel. The Law of Moses did not command a particular form of civil government, neither monarchy nor republic, but rather any government should maintain public order according to the commandments that the Lord gave to the people through Moses. During this time, the Promised Land was divided among the twelve tribes of Israel, without a central government. The people did not use their freedom wisely. While threatened by foreign powers, the tribes fought amongst themselves. The people also fell into idolatry, corruption and sexual immorality.
At that time the judges had the highest civil authority in the nation. They were leaders, without formal office, but called and equipped by God to save the nation from its enemies. Samuel was called to act as a judge, similar to his predecessors:
1. Executed divine judgment on foreign invaders;
2. He put into practice the Law of the Lord in the internal affairs of Israel.
But, Samuel was also an instrument to launch a new age by anointing Saul and David as kings of Israel. The figure of the king unified the people and foreshadowed the Messiah.
Ana was one of Elcaná's two wives; the culture tolerated a man to take another wife, if one was sterile. So she promised that if she had a male child from childhood she would serve God. God heard Hannah's prayer and she became pregnant and had a son, Samuel.
In her song of thanks, Hannah prophesied a king whom Jehovah would give strength as his Anointed One. Hannah's words are undoubtedly a prediction of David, but the Spirit that rested on her meant a King greater than David and a more illustrious kingdom.
This text, like many others in Scripture, emphasizes that the birth of children is a blessing from God. All human life is a gift and has value in the eyes of God. To recognize the sanctity of human life is not the way of the world apart from the light of Christ.
According to the church calendar, December 28 is the day to remember when King Herod the Great sent soldiers to Bethlehem with the order to kill all the children two years and under who were in Bethlehem and in all its surroundings. But, by his angel, God sent Joseph to take the Child Jesus and Mary to flee to Egypt, beyond the wickedness of Herod. Jesus lived to meet his death on the cross, in the place of each one of us.
Only because of the Gospel of Saint Matthew do we remember these innocents of Bethlehem. There are no contemporary records of the deaths of the innocents in Bethlehem, because there were so many large-scale atrocities. Abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia were frequently practiced in the ancient world.
Today we live in a world where abortion is the leading cause of death for children worldwide. With a rate of 125,000 baby aborted each day, that means that the same number of babies have died in abortions in just 11 days as the number of people worldwide who have died in total from the coronavirus.
On Wednesday, December 30, the second day after the Day of the Innocents, the Senate of Argentina approved the bill to legalize abortion promoted by the president of their country. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina has denounced this decision. The statement of Arturo Truenow, presiding pastor of the IELA, his vice presidents and district presidents, reads in part: "Before the sanction of the abortion law (voluntary interruption of pregnancy) by the National Congress as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina, we express our rejection of this law ... We maintain our conviction that existence and life is the gift of God. It belongs to Him to give it and take it away (Job 1:21). Therefore, sanctioned by the law, abortion will continue to be sin against the Law of God ... As servants of God, we offer our help, support and guidance based on the Word of God (the Bible) both to future mothers who have doubts about continuing with their pregnancy, as well as those who have made the sad determination to end a life and suffer for having done so ”. We must pray for Argentina and all the countries that do not protect the lives of human beings in the womb.
We learned from the prayers of the psalmist, Anna, and Mary that our God is holy and sovereign. The Lord is high above all nations, exalted above all human states with their weak rulers, and His glory above the heavens, over which He is also the absolute sovereign. He listens to the prayers of the humble and is merciful. His promises are sure.
Also in His holy gospel there is consolation for sterile women, for those whose children are stillborn, who are considering abortion and those who have committed abortion.
When the Lord decides to bless a couple with children, this does not mean that the Lord has taken away His favor. In some circumstances, adoption is the best alternative for the couple to consider. Also to put up for adoption is an alternative for women considering abortion.
While still alive in its mother's womb, a child can be presented and entrusted to Christ by our prayers. We must not doubt that these prayers have been heard, for we have the tender and comforting promises of God that in the name of Jesus Christ He answers those prayers. The aborted child can be commended to God's mercy and the woman who suffers the shame of abortion can receive God's forgiveness.
When the death of a child comes before holy baptism, we trust by His grace that God has already received the child because of the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. He only condemns the rejection of baptism when there is the opportunity to be baptized.
Best of all is to receive not only the gift of physical life, but also the promise of eternal life in baptism. As our epistle says (Titus 3: 4-7): “But when the goodness of God our Savior was manifested, and his love for men, he saved us, not because of works of justice that we have done, but because of his mercy. , by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit; which he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. "
May the peace that passes all understanding be with you. Amen.
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