Advent Day 17: Believe He Can

Today’s Gospel: Luke 1:5-25

In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years. Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute.Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying,”So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.”

Today’s gospel passage opens by giving Zechariah high praise, but he doesn’t comprehend God’s plans. He was a priest, married into the family of Aaron. Both he and his wife were righteous in the eyes of God, and observed all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. Yet, when the angel told him God’s plan, it was as if all of that went out the window. None of it seemed to help him wrap his mind around how God could possibly do what the angel told him. Because of his doubt, the angel Gabriel gave Zechariah a serious form of the silent treatment! Through Zechariah’s story, God gives us a big reminder not to put restrictions on what God can do that cause us to doubt Him.

Doubt is at the heart of so many troubles in our faith today. We can go to Church every Sunday, say our prayers every night, and do amazing things for others in the name of God, but suddenly forget that our God can do the impossible when something difficult happens in life.

Ponder Together:
Think about what God can do in your own life, your marriage, your family, and in the lives of others. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, beyond the power of God and what He can do. No sin is too big, no sinner is too far away from God’s loving and saving arms, and there is no miracle beyond God’s power.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?” Romans 11:34

This Advent Season be reminded again to hold onto the hope that God gives you, and to keep your trust in Him. Remember that no matter how dark the day is or how bleak the situation, God is with you, as we reflected on yesterday. He can and will do amazing things for you, for your marriage, your family, and for the world.

Pray Together:
The Canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1: 68-79):
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; 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 holy 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 hands of our 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 the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Plan Together:
Christmas is less than a week away – it will be here before we know it. Take a moment today and make a plan to visit the adoration chapel together, go to confession, or make it to a daily Mass. Additionally, at home, make a plan to go through some of the closets and see what items you can donate. As you prepare your hearts and your home for the coming of Jesus, declutter your hearts of sin and bask in the “son.” Allow Him to pave the way for His coming, smoothing out each nook and cranny. Meanwhile, declutter your home and take note of all the extra things that are unnecessary for you but could be useful to others who are in need, and purge your closets giving rightly to those who have not. It feels good to bless others, as you will find yourself doubly blessed.

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Jason Angelette

Jason Angelette

Co-Director of Faith and Marriage

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