Today’s Gospel: Luke 1:57-66
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”
Today’s passage reminds us of the amazing circumstances surrounding the birth of the one who would prepare the way of the Lord, St. John the Baptist. The Lord is inviting you to reflect on how He orchestrated all of these events, fulfilling prophecies about Christ’s birth from hundreds of years prior. God always keeps His promises and is always at work in our midst! Determine this Advent season to truly trust the Lord in your faith and in your daily life. The message reiterates that from the 17th day of Advent: set doubt aside and do not limit what God can do in your life.
The circumstances surrounding your own birth were amazing as well, because even from that time you were set aside as a child of God! We should see ourselves within the full context of God’s plan, not just as a dash between the day we were born and the day we died. God has a purpose for all of us, and each of us is a part of God’s greater story. Every child born and baptized should inspire our hearts to ponder: “What will this child be, for the Lord is with them!” For the Lord is with them as He is with us, and “if God is with us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
“Take, O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will. Thou hast given me all that I am and all that I possess: I surrender it all to Thee that Thou mayest dispose of it according to Thy will. Give me only Thy love and Thy grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will have no more to desire. Amen” – St. Ignatius of Loyola
Zechariah must have had some amazing time to reflect on things while he was silent for all those months. Sometimes it is not the noise around you that drowns out God’s voice, but rather your own voice, never giving God a chance to say anything. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said that we should not be like a patient who runs to the doctor, lists all our ailments, and then runs out of the office before the doctor can prescribe a cure. Make time today to sit in quiet reflection with our Lord. If you need to say something do so, but then give Him time to say something too.
Also, schedule a married couples retreat in 2018. Find time for the husband to do a men’s retreat and the wife to do a woman’s retreat as well. Hopefully these retreats will be a silent time when God will have the opportunity to speak to your hearts, and a little more time for you to rest in His love and friendship.
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta