Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
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.” Lk 1:67-79
Today, we have the canticle of Zechariah. This canticle is found in the daily office of readings or Liturgy of the Hours that all priests, sisters, monks, and nuns take a vow to say each day. We, too, should read the Liturgy of the Hours as recommended to us by St. John Paul II. It is the official prayer of the Church. It calls us to praise the Lord 7 times a day. It brings comfort knowing there are people in constant prayer throughout the day praying for us and the Church.
Zechariah’s canticle like Mary’s speaks of Old Testament prophecies that are being fulfilled by John the Baptist and Jesus. It is a message of hope. It praises and worships God for keeping His promises (covenant) for His people. Zechariah speaks of his son, “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.”
John the Baptist has a clear purpose, to prepare us for the coming of Christ. He gives us knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins. This is the hope of all humanity as we have inherited Original Sin. We live in a world of darkness, death, and sin. Just read the paper or turn on the news, actually just look at your own battle to fight sin in your own life. I don’t know about you but I need a Savior, I need all the grace I can get to strive and be holy each day. Sometimes I don’t even make it past breakfast trying to prepare my kids for school on time. Many of us may judge someone on the news or in a text before we even get to school or have a fight with our parents because we didn’t get what we wanted.
Forgiveness of our sins is one key to gaining heaven. Christ becomes the Victim who makes the ultimate Sacrifice on the Cross and continues in mystery on our altars during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is where we come to be forgiven and so many people are staying away. This is where our salvation is a work in progress, our will choosing to do God’s will. At Mass, we are brought to the foot of the Cross by the grace of God to offer up our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings. At Mass, God calls His people out of the darkness of the world and into heaven on earth. The baptismal font is at the front of the Church when we walk in and the holy water reminds us of our baptism. Then we can renew our baptismal promises and Christ feeds our souls with Himself in the Eucharist to forgive us and help us in our journey of salvation.
God is always with us. As broken sinners, we come to Him, and He Christifies us. This is the Good News of the Incarnation, God became one of us so we could become like Him! His grace through the Holy Spirit transforms us! It is a slow grueling process, but God never stops loving and forgiving us! We are His greatest creation! What is our worth, our value? So much that the Father sent His only Son to become Man, who went to the depths of the worst places, penned everything to a tree, gave us the new and everlasting covenant of his blood, and raised us all up! Wow, this is radical, crazy, uneconomical never ending love!
This is our ticket to peace, joy, a way to offer up our suffering, and defeating the Devil through the total gift of self in Christ on the Cross. It is our ticket to holiness which brings the greatest joy, what our hearts truly desire. It’s what were made for before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before the Father! Eph 1: 4 Don’t forget, the Father created us before the Fall for joy! Christ provides for us reconciliation with God. Death is no longer the end! This changes everything, especially what we live our lives for and what we believe.
As we gain knowledge of this great gift God has given us through His Son, we wake each day to praise, glorify, and adore Him. He has no other desire than to receive us into His arms through His compassion and mercy on us. When we fall, He gives us a way to continue to be forgiven in reconciliation. We, too, are called to forgive since we are forgiven, “If we fail to forgive, we are rejecting our own faith.”–Fr. Emil Kapaun
In this time of Christmas, may we remember the compassion of our Creator through His Son, so we too may have compassion on others and really start to love self and others the way God loves us. Forgiveness is the key. It rids us of the worry, anxiety, and guilt in our relationships and brings peace, joy, and love. Then, “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.” Awesome! A great message of hope!
Today’s challenge: Take time as we spend more time with our families to tell them how much you love them and that you are sorry for any of the times you have hurt them. Forgive yourself, your past, come to God who is mercy and compassion (just look at Christ on the cross, head bent to kiss you, arms open to receive you, giving His all!)
“We are NOT the sum of our wounds, failures, and sin, we are the sum of God the Father’s love for us in the capacity of Jesus for the world!” -Fr. Mike Schmitz quoting St. JPII
Stop putting yourself down and believe in the power of God’s love! God wants to do great things through you, embrace Him!
Be a servant, become a saint!