FIRST READING
A reading from the Book of Judges (Judges 13:2-7.24-25a)
The birth of samson is announced by an angel.

In those days: There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, Behold, you are barren and have no children; but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore beware, and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from birth; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines. Then the woman came and told her husband, A man of God came to me, and his countenance was like the countenance of the angel of God, very terrible; I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name; but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son; so then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from birth to the day of his death. And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson; and the boy grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him.
The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM   (Psalm 71:3-4a.5-6ab: 16- 17 (R. see 8a)
R. My mouth is filled with your praise,
    and I will sing your glory!

Be my rock, my constant refuge,
a mighty stronghold to save me,
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
My God, free me from the hand of the wicked. R./

It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth;
from my mother’s womb, you have been my help. R./

I will come with praise of your might, O Lord;
I will call to mind your justice, yours, O LORD, alone.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and I proclaim your wonders still. R./

ALLELUIA  
Alleluia. Alleluia. Root of Jesse, who stand as a sign to the nations!
Come and deliver us: delay no longer.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 1:5-25)
The birth of John the Baptist is announced by Gabriel.

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth; for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they wondered at his delay in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them and remained mute. And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying, “Thus the Lord has done to me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.”
The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
The two readings of today refer to the birth of great men of the Bible namely; Samson the Great and John the Baptist. In both the two cases there is a time of barrenness, there is an announcement from an angel of the Lord, and the angel always informs those concerned that their prayers have been heard. The lesson is perseverance in prayer, no matter what the conditions, because, as the angel personally informs Mary: with God nothing is impossible.

Lord, grant that we may always persevere in prayer, knowing that you never fail us and that your time is always the right time.

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