Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist! St. John the Baptist, pray for us!
Humbly submit your will to God (thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
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.” LK 1:5-25
We see doubt and unbelief in many places in the Bible among some of the chosen people of God. Zechariah was holy. He was “righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly”. Even when the angel Gabriel (yes, angels do exist!!!!!) appeared to him, he doubted. Don’t be so hard on yourself when you doubt, but rush quickly to the aid of Jesus, the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and your guardian angel. If you are in habitual sin even habitual mortal sin, come to Jesus and do not allow the Devil to deceive you. You are the one Jesus came to save, don’t allow the power of the Cross to die because you doubt you will ever be able to unchain yourself from sin. Pope Francis says, “Jesus never tires of forgiving, we tire of asking for forgiveness”.
We falsely believe or allow the Devil to deceive us that sin is unconquerable. Jesus conquered sin and death, run to Him, daily if you need to. Some saints went to Him daily in confession. As a person grows closer to Christ, they see their sin even more clearly. It will require fasting, spending time in the desert (a quiet place of reflection) and giving something up. Jesus will do His part, but we must will ourselves to stop the things or people that are leading us away from Christ. We have to face our brokenness and hold ourselves accountable. It may take counseling, a doctor, and medicine with God’s grace.
God’s grace and love are the most powerful thing in the world, nothing can stop them except us not opening ourselves up to His love and grace. “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard”. Doubt and sin are what we have inherited, but God sent His only Son to die for us and save us. Jesus has conquered these things which gives us hope. We may not conquer our brokenness, but we have someone who will suffer with us through it. He also promises it won’t last forever, there is a spiritual Kingdom where all suffering and sin will be no more. This brings peace and joy in this “valley of tears” and gives us what we need to make it through the next moment or day. Jesus asks us for something that everything hinges on, to believe and trust. We have been blessed with a choice as baptized Christians, never give up! Be a warrior, a fighter, a believer and inspire others to do the same!
Today’s challenge: When in doubt, seek, trust and believe. When in sin, never stop asking for forgiveness.
We are saints in training! Be a servant, become a saint!