Zechariah, filled with 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.”
The canticle of Zechariah is a complete hymn about the fidelity of God to his covenant and promises. The occasion was the birth of John, but the purpose is quite universal. The aim of this old priest’s thanksgiving is the entire History of Salvation and points first to the mission of the Messiah. Who is this “victorious Savior in the house of David?” He is Jesus. What are consequences of his presence in Israel? They are redemption, salvation from enemies and foes, holiness, security and righteousness. The merciful presence of the Savior is compared with a rising sun shining in darkness and guiding us into the way of peace.
That was the promise through the prophets of old, and this the realization in this messianic times. With Zechariah we can see the future of God’s action through his Christ, with a complete victory over the enemies. Of course, he includes the mission of John the child who comes to prepare the way for the Messiah, to know him and to grant the forgiveness of sins to his people.
In this vigil of Christmas, the words of Zechariah can inspire us to understand and embrace the Child Jesus with adoration and gratitude asking for the complete realization of his mission among us all the days of our lives.
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