Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Gospel LK 1:67-79
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying: "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."
Reflection Have you ever been struck speechless? Have you ever received news or have had someone reveal something to you that was so incredible that you just couldn't say a word? This happened to me when I heard the doctor say to my husband, "You have a humongous tumor on your spine and it has to be removed." This was news that seemed so unbelievable that my husband and I were in a state of shock.
After awhile many questions pop into your head like, "How can this be?" or "Why?" There was no reasonable answer to those questions. My husband was in the prime of his life. He was healthy, physically active and never sick. True he had back pain, but we were both convinced that he had a slipped disc due to lifting something heavy while building our home. Yet the MRI revealed a huge tumor causing his back pain.
I can understand why Zachariah was astounded when he saw an angel appear to him and announce that he was going to be a father. An angel standing in front of him was already a surprise, but then to hear that his elderly wife would bare him a son, was even more incredulous. "How can this be?" seems like a human response to this news. But because the angel said that he was sent by the Lord and because Zachariah questioned his announcement he was struck mute. He couldn't speak for nine months. He was left to ponder and be silent during his wife's pregnancy.
Like Zachariah I was left to ponder and silently reflect on what was happening to my husband. How would this affect our lives? What will happen in the future? Questions that would only lead to one answer, "Trust in the Lord. He only wills us good. So, trust in the Lord."
Zachariah couldn't speak until his son was born. As soon as Zachariah acknowledged and wrote the name of his son, John. Then his mouth was opened and what poured out from him was one of the most beautiful canticles. He prophesied:
"You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."
God was teaching Zachariah the virtue of patience. He must humble himself and endure. Let us pray for all priests to be humble, to endure evil, and to persevere in love of the Lord.
Please join us in praying the PAPA Prayer for Priests.