The readings for today speak about two sons. The First Reading’s son is named Samson. The son in the Second Reading is named John. Let us compare and let us contrast.
The similarities: both Samson and John were born from mothers considered sterile. These women were not expected to give birth, and yet each became pregnant and gave birth to Samson and to John respectively. Both Samson and John did not know how a barbershop looks. No shaver ever touched the head of Samson. In the case of John, he also maintained a wild-look appearance. Both of them were considered filled with the Holy Spirit even while in the womb of their mothers.
In contrast: Samson was muscular, John was ascetic. A contrast, Samson was a combatant. He led his people against the Philistines. In the case of John, he was not a warrior. He was a desert figure, and he fasted many days and many nights. His attitude towards life was always prayer. John and Samson were both killed in a bloody manner. Samson, as you know, died violently with the crushing of the temple, and John died violently because he was beheaded.
What do Samson and John teach us? Did their mothers expect them to be born? No. Did they want a life like that? They definitely did not ask for it. Did they want to die like that? They did not want to die like that. Did they want to live like that, longhaired and looking wild? They did not like to live that way. They would have wanted to live as ordinary mortals.
One thing surfaces in both Samson and John. And what is it? Openness to God, Expect surprises from God because the one who will give directions is God. God tells us what to do. Unfortunately, when we pray, we tell God what to do. We tell God what to do with the war. We tell God what to do with the sickness. We tell God what to do with the problems of the world. But the question is, do we ever ask God, “Lord, what do You want us to do?” Let us remember that He is God and we are not. Unfortunately, we are a people who want to play the games, and we call ourselves or we act and talk and think like God.
Samson and John teach only one word: Openness. Be open. Expect surprises from God. Even if we don’t like what these surprises ask us to do, we have to do them, nevertheless because God tells us to do them. They did not like what they had to do. They were hesitant. They were reluctant but they obeyed because God willed it.
We are going to have a better Christmas if we always remember Jesus is God and I am not. So ask Jesus, “What do you want me to do?” And stop telling Jesus what to do. He is in control; we are creatures. Be open to the God of surprises.
SAMSON AND JOHN
Love Like Jesus