UNBORN WORD of the day


Finally, with Mary and unborn Jesus came hope
November 4, 2007, 9:32 pm
Filed under: Biblical Reflections, The Incarnation

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Today, November 5 is the feast day of Saints Zachary and Elizabeth, the parents of St. John the Baptist. Today the focus will be on Zechariah, (tomorrow we will concentrate on Elizabeth). The account of the Archangel Gabriel appearing to Zechariah is found in Luke 1:5-25.

  • The priest Zechariah had been the first person told of the Messiah’s impending mission to the House of Israel. That God willed this is understandable as he was a faithful and holy priest. Zechariah represents the remnant of faithful souls within Israel awaiting the Messiah.
  • Gabriel’s initial greeting to Zechariah had been full of tenderness as he recounted God’s attentiveness to the prayers of both Zechariah and Elizabeth. He then proclaimed the conception and future mission of Zechariah’s son John.
  • But Zechariah confronts the Archangel with a doubting question: “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” Suddenly, this joyous breathtaking event sours.
  • Zechariah of Ain‑Karim, would have had a keen interest in the prophecies and teaching concerning the long awaited Messiah, but now by his own doubt and lack of faith he had rebuffed the exalted Archangel Gabriel, the same angel who had appeared to the great prophet Daniel.
  • The Archangel has no choice but to put aside the rest of the message as it was intended to be delivered. He delivers instead a brief angelic rebuke: “I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.”
  • The divine message has, in effect, been cut short and there is nothing left to say. Indeed, the Angel will see to it that Zechariah has nothing else to say for a very long time: “…..you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass….” And when would “these things come to pass”?
  • And so for the next six months, prior to the arrival of Mary (and unborn Jesus), Zechariah was a man ashamed, begging God to forgive him for his stubborn and hardened heart. He was acutely aware of his sinfulness and weakness and would have prayed often, readily identifying with many of the Psalms. “O Lord, rebuke me not in thy anger, nor chasten me in thy wrath…! I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning” (Ps 38:1,6).
  • Finally, with Mary and unborn Jesus came hope. Literally, physically, supernaturally, prophetically. A great ray of light broke through the clouds of Zechariah’s thoughts and musings. As he could witness God fulfilling His promises to Israel ‑ in spite of his own obstinacy ‑ hope began to grow in him and even the courage to believe more fiercely that yes, God could forgive him, God would forgive him and even rely on him again. For Zechariah this visit was a wonderful gift from God, an indescribable consolation. And in three short months his lips would again sing aloud the praises of God his Savior. (Luke1:67-79) Condensed from Unborn Jesus Our Hope.

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