“Fervently preparing our hearts – in holiness and sanctity – to prepare a beautiful crib for our Blessed Lord, Who comes as a Babe!”
(Based on 2 Sam 7:1-5, 8b-12 and Lk 1:67-79 – Friday of the 4th Week in Advent)
Music has been a popular part of the celebration of our Lord’s birth for a long time!
The Bible records that many characters in the Christmas story almost instantly responded to the events surrounding the birth of our Saviour with songs.
In our own days, we take immense delight to sing Christmas carols.
We also get a special feeling in lifting our voices in joy and thrill…
Today we have on the stage of the Gospel a beautiful Hymn being sung.
The title of the hymn is “Benedictus” and it is sung by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist!
The setting of this song is during a very gloomy period in the life of the nation of Israel.
Israel had been chosen by God from among all nations to be a priestly nation to the rest of the world.
But this nation that was to lead all other nations to God, was being led by a pagan empire.
Israel was under the domination of the Roman Empire.
The Roman Kingdom was the last in a long line of pagan nations that had ruled Israel.
The ruler in Zechariah’s day was King Herod.
Herod was not a man of God.
In fact he was just the opposite – a very degenerate man.
He had introduced Roman temples into the land and had built idols to the Roman gods.
Under his leadership Israel became a land filled with immorality.
The spiritual life of the Jews lost its vitality.
In the midst of these dark and cloudy moments, Zechariah sings the “Benedictus” – a Song of Blessing!
A child had been born…
…signaling the Coming of the Messiah.
John the Baptist ushered in a period of singing praises and glory to the Lord.
Like a drop of fresh water in the deserted land…
Like a gleam of light in the midst of thick darkness…
Like a faint melodious tune in the thick of deep silence…
The life of Zechariah and Elizabeth was favoured with reasons to sing blessings to God!
It’s interesting to analyse the names of this simple yet wonderful family – Zechariah, Elizabeth and John.
Zechariah means “God (Yahweh) remembers”
Elizabeth means “the promise of God”
John means “God (Yahweh) is gracious”
The union of Zechariah (“God remembers”) and Elizabeth (“the promise of God”) gave birth to John (“God is gracious”)
Zechariah + Elizabeth = John
God remembers + the promise = God is gracious!
Yes, God remembers His promise, and thus shows that He is gracious!
Our lives may often be in darkness or undergoing a night of dryness…
Our lives may seem to be devoid of true peace and happiness…
Our lives may be rendered meaningless or hopeless…
Yet, Zechariah, Elizabeth and John invite us today, to sing a song of Blessing to God!
When we live in God’s love, we can sing the chorus of service!
When we trust in God’s providence, we can sing the chorus of joy!
When we hope in God’s mercies, we can sing the chorus of faithfulness!
With the armour of faith, the shield of hope and the sword of love, let us join Zechariah and Family to sing our Hymn of Blessing to God Yahweh!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is challenging in His gentle inspirations!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is merciful in His Divine Compassion!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is generous in the Blessed Eucharist!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is majestic in His Holy Sacraments!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is faithful in His gracious promises!
Blessed be the Lord, for He is vibrant in His Holy Church!
On this eve of Christmas, let us fervently prepare our hearts – in holiness and sanctity – to prepare a beautiful crib for our Blessed Lord, Who comes as a Babe…
… in our hearts
… in our lives
… and in our homes!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE VOCATION OF LAY PEOPLE
Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the Church is the animating principle of human society.
Therefore, they in particular ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head, and of the bishops in communion with him.
They are the Church! (CCC # 899)