Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation/ by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
BLESSED BE THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL. A theatrical play is about to begin when the house lights start to dim and the stage is suddenly bathed in light. In concerts where popular artists are performing, young people squeal with delight at the same signal: they know the show is about to begin.
The excitement level reaches its peak when Zechariah first sings the Benedictus, as he gives thanks to God for restoring his power of speech. The nine months of silence imposed upon him by God have helped him plumb the depths of the mystery surrounding the pregnancy of his wife Elizabeth.
The Benedictus is an act of praising God backward and forward—being grateful for God’s prodigious gifts to Israel long ago and for God’s continued saving action on behalf of his Chosen People. Zechariah knows that with the birth of his son John, the Messiah will immediately come and “the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace” (vv 78-79).
As we joyfully anticipate the coming of our Savior, we are given new opportunities to encounter biblical figures like Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah. We also meet the ancestors of Jesus and other characters in the Old Testament. In his grand plan, God has used all these people to welcome the light brought by the Messiah.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2018,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.