Daily Reflection – Dec 19, 2015
Saturday 19 December 2015
First Reading: Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
Psalm 71:3-4A, 5-6AB, 16-17
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:5-25
Today’s Note: Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
In the days of Herod, King of Judea,
there was a priest named Zechariah
of the priestly division of Abijah;
his wife was from the daughters of Aaron,
and her name was Elizabeth.
Both were righteous in the eyes of God,
observing all the commandments
and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren
and both were advanced in years.
Once when he was serving as priest
in his division’s turn before God,
according to the practice of the priestly service,
he was chosen by lot
to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense.
Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside
at the hour of the incense offering,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him,
standing at the right of the altar of incense.
Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.”
Then 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 said to him in reply,
“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk
until the day these things take place,
because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah
and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary.
But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them,
and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary.
He was gesturing to them but remained mute.
Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home.
After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived,
and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,
“So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit
to take away my disgrace before others.”
“He who is to come will not delay. Then there will be no fear in our lands, because he is our savior.” How is it that human beings are so mired in terror? The media knows that horror can attract attention and “sell papers.” Existential philosophy teaches that we are born with angst from which our English anxiety comes. In Greek, angostos means a narrow, choked up space—the birth canal. But we have a savior who wants to set us free from fear.
How shall you respond to Jesus’ deep desire that we do not be afraid. More than any other words in the gospels, he urges, “Do not be afraid.” Ask the Spirit to show you your fears. Take each one to Jesus and hear him ask you: “Is this realistic?” and “IF that were true or realistic, what would be so bad about that?” Any time you feel fear, turn to him and pray: Set me free, savior of the world.
O come, Flower of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all people! Save us (set us free) without delay! Alleluia!