READING OF THE DAY
A reading from the Book of Judges
JGS 13:2-7, 24-25A
There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites,
whose name was Manoah.
His wife was barren and had borne no children.
An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her,
“Though you are barren and have had no children,
yet you will conceive and bear a son.
Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink
and to eat nothing unclean.
As for the son you will conceive and bear,
no razor shall touch his head,
for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb.
It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel
from the power of the Philistines.”
The woman went and told her husband,
“A man of God came to me;
he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed.
I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.
But he said to me,
‘You will be with child and will bear a son.
So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean.
For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb,
until the day of his death.’”
The woman bore a son and named him Samson.
The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him;
the Spirit of the LORD stirred him.
GOSPEL OF THE DAY
From the Gospel according to Luke
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.”
Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent
(Lk 1: 5-25)
God’s Word for Us
Dear people of God,]
The Word of God today reveals to all mankind the birth of John the Baptist, a great prophet, who prepared the way for the Son of God to come to earth as a man. The birth of Saint John the Baptist comes from the power of God bestowed upon all mankind.
God revealed that: Saint John’s parents were old people, whose childbearing years had passed, but, with the power of God, John was born. John’s birth was very special, that is, the Angel Gabriel stood in the presence of God, bringing God’s command to Zechariah and telling him that his son will be a great prophet of God. Zechariah’s son John will be the one to prepare the way for the Most High to come to earth as a human, and it is this prophet who will do exactly what God commanded, that is, to live a simple, poor life, yet a life faithful to the mission that God gives him to his last breath. The great prophet has called many people to turn from their sins and return to God.
God revealed that: Zechariah was mute and could not speak until the day his child was born. He was mute because of his unbelief, not fully believing in the words of the Angel Gabriel who brought the Word of God to him. The fact that Zechariah was mute was a sign, showing the power of God to do what He had told him in advance. Indeed, after the birth of Saint John the Baptist, Zechariah opened his mouth and spoke; he believed and did exactly what God commanded him to do.
God reveals to mankind that all of these acts represent God’s saving work for all mankind, according to God’s Will. Man could never have done this, had it not been for God’s intervention. Therefore, human beings only know how to listen to and obey God’s Will.
Today, God calls on all mankind: to have absolute trust in God’s love and to do exactly what He has commanded. Do not doubt, do not reason; live simply, be humble, humble yourself, obey and listen to and practice the word of God. For those who practice according to what God has commanded, their souls will enjoy happiness in the presence of the Most High God.
Thanks Be to God. Amen.