DEC. 24. ADVENT. WK 4. (B). LK. 1. 67-79
John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:
‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel
for he has visited his people, he has come to their rescue
and he has raised up for us a power for salvation
in the House of his servant David,
even as he proclaimed,
by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times,
that he would save us from our enemies
and from the hands of all who hate us.
Thus he shows mercy to our ancestors,
thus he remembers his holy covenant
the oath he swore
to our father Abraham
that he would grant us, free from fear,
to be delivered from the hands of our enemies,
to serve him in holiness and virtue
in his presence, all our days.
And you, little child,
you shall be called Prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare the way for him,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins;
this by the tender mercy of our God
who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us,
to give light to those who live
in darkness and the shadow of death
and to guide our feet
into the way of peace.’
In reading this scripture text we need to pause and reflect that we are hearing words inspired by the Holy Spirit; - and how “right” they are in urging us, on Christmas Eve, to bless and praise God for all he has done for us?
“God has visited his people; - he has come to their rescue; - he has raised up for us a power for salvation; - he will save us from our enemies; - and from the hands of all who hate us!
We believe, when we read these words, they have all been achieved and heaven has been opened to us by the sacrifice of this “Lamb of God” who was born, in a stable in Bethlehem! That alone should be enough to cause us to rejoice at the Wisdom and Merciful Love of God, but so many additional gifts have also been bestowed on us because of this imminent birth?
Our Faith; - the Church; - the Sacraments; - the Liturgy; - the gift of Prayer; - Mary, the Mother of the Church; - the Priesthood; - Confession; - the Eucharist; - the Scriptures; - and, above all, The Universal Call to Holiness (or the invitation to become one with God via a Union of Love). All these gifts have been bestowed to us; - despite the truth we are sinners; - and they have all been made available to us through the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem!