Monday, December 24, 2012

“People may doubt what you say but they will believe what you do”

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.  - Blaise Pascal

(Gospel text: 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."

St. Luke tells us what happened.  The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the Jerusalem temple, while he carried the rituals of the Jewish priesthood (see Luke 1:8-22).  Gabriel had been sent by God to announce to Zechariah that he and his wife Elizabeth would be granted the gift of a son. Zechariah doubted; and as punishment, lost his power of speech.  "Behold," Gabriel said, "you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words" (Luke 1:20).

Zechariah had nine months to think things over.

God's will is not always clear to us.  Sometimes, like Zechariah, we seem to be fumbling in the dark, seeking understanding.  In the midst of these experiences, we have to learn the lesson of patient faith.

"To live, grow, and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be 'working through charity,' abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 162).

If we find ourselves in darkness and doubt, let us move towards the light.  The light of God radiating from his eternal Son envelops the Christmas feast, only one day away.  By staying close to Christ, we will find the source of our faith, the fulfillment of our understanding, and love without limit. 

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