Gospel: Lk 1:67-79
Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, sang this canticle: ”Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has come and redeemed his people. In the house of David his servant, he has raised up for us a victorious Savior; as he promised through his prophets of old, salvation from our enemies and from the hand of our foes. He has shown mercy to our fathers; and remembered his holy Covenant, the oath he swore to Abraham, our father, to deliver us from the enemy, that we might serve him fearlessly, as a holy and righteous people, all the days of our lives. And you, my child, shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you shall go before the Lord, to prepare the way for him, and to enable his people to know of their salvation, when he comes to forgive their sins. This is the work of the mercy of our God, who comes from on high, as a rising sun, shining on those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, and guiding our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke puts the Benedictus into the mouth of Zechariah, the husband of Elizabeth and father of the newly born, John the Baptist. For doubting the word of the angel, Zechariah had been struck dumb but when, at the circumcision of his son, he confirmed that the boy‘s name would be John, he recovered his speech and broke out into this song of praise. God is praised and blessed because ”he has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant”, a clear reference to Jesus. Zechariah thanks God for having – in the person of Jesus – ”visited his people” and ”come to their rescue” just as he had promised through the mouths of the prophets down the ages. What was the purpose of this deliverance? So that we could rejoice over the defeat of those who wishes us harm? No, it was that we could ”serve him in holiness and virtue in his presence, all our days”. There is enough there already for us to reflect on with deep gratitude. The first thing he gives thanks for is the fact that God has redeemed His people. Secondly, he thanks God for the fulfillment of past promises. Finally, he thanks God as he anticipates the fulfillment of future promises. All these are acts of God. So, we, too, thank God for His gracious work among us. The realization of that peace and harmony in each one, in every community and throughout every society, is a sign that the Kingdom has come. We all realize how much that peace is needed in our world, in our own society, in our own communities, in our homes and in our own selves. May the Prince of Peace come and dwell among us this Christmas.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018