Daily Reflection for Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Responsorial: Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29
Gospel: Luke 1:67-79
Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
“Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.” (Luke 1:67-68)
Tuesday’s gospel from Luke is the Canticle of Zechariah, one of the most treasured prayers of the Church. It is a key part of the morning prayer in monasteries and religious communities around the world every day of the year. In it, Zechariah jumps from silence to exuberant joy, praising God with his whole being.
God’s love is celebrated! God’s faithfulness is remembered, and his covenant with Abraham is renewed with the current generation. God is blessed for the mercy that redeems us. God hears and answers our prayers, sometimes with miracles, even by sending a baby to an elderly childless couple. Nothing is beyond the wonderous powers of our God.
This burst of joy especially deserves our thoughtful attention on this eve of the celebration of the birth of our Savior. Zechariah has been speechless for nine months. But suddenly he can’t contain the happiness and awe he’s experiencing at the prospect of having a son of his own . . . and knowing that the God he has faithfully served his whole life has, in return, found Zechariah worthy to be the father of this baby. After all, this is a baby who, as the future prophet John the Baptist, will foretell the coming of our Lord.
With the annual flood of holiday marketing, it’s easy to overlook a message delivered by Jesus’ elderly cousin in a state of ecstasy 2,000 years ago. That message has little obvious connection with the parties, presents, card exchanges, and decorating that dominate the months of November and December. The Canticle of Zechariah is the cry of an old man who unexpectedly became a father, and whose child became an extraordinary prophet as part of the fulfillment of God’s salvation.
This message-and-mood disconnect can be disconcerting for us. Attaching ourselves to the Canticle of Zechariah can change the meaning of the holiday season from current events to a focus on the larger . . . and unsettling . . . message that reminds us of the day-to-day presence of God in all of our lives. We may not feel it, see it, or even believe that it’s possible (as Zechariah did when he heard Gabriel’s message), but the Canticle of Zechariah reminds us that God has not forgotten us. He is forever faithful . . . and we can take joy in knowing that God loves everyone!
Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you,