Homily for December 23 | Friday of the 4th Week of Advent
Elizabeth, a woman who was once barren, has given birth to John. What an incredible miracle for the Lord to have blessed her in that way. And because of that, everyone in her family knew; everyone in the town knew; they were all talking about it, they all shared in the joy of Elizabeth. Yet, there was one person who had remained silent – Zechariah – but the Lord was about to change that and He would use it as a further opportunity to show His power and His glory.
According to Jewish law, a baby boy is circumcised and named on the eighth day of his life. John would be brought up to be a “good Jewish boy” and would be marked as a “son of the covenant” between God and His people. And it was in this ceremony where the Lord showcased how He cares about Elizabeth, Zechariah, and John, how He loved them. It’s a reminder to us how the Lord enters the lives of every human person, how He takes a specific interest in each of our lives and has a unique relationship with each of us. But it also reminds us of how we sometimes doubt that the Lord is faithful to the promises that He makes in our lives.
What we see from the example of Zechariah and Elizabeth is that even godly people doubt the Lord at times. But their story is also one that God is greater than our doubts.
Zechariah was a priest. He was close to the Lord; he and his wife were described as “righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly” (Luke 1:6). Yet, he was so resigned to the fact that he wouldn’t have a child, that he couldn’t wrap his mind around the news that he would have a son – even when it was delivered to him by an archangel! Because of that, the Lord made him mute until the naming of John.
All of us have doubts that come to the surface of our hearts and minds at different times. Ultimately, we don’t trust fully in what the Lord is doing in our lives; we don’t always trust that He is going to be there for us when we need Him. And yet, the reminder for today is that God will indeed be faithful to us, He will always be there, He will always walk alongside us, He will always be true to His word. He may not give us the things that we think we need, but He will always give us the things that are in line with His plan for us.
Today, whatever doubts we might have on our hearts, bring those things to the Lord. Share them with Him. Talk to Him about why we doubt. Whatever it might be. Ask Him for the grace to have more faith, to have a deepened sense of trust that He is with us.
In the coming days, we celebrate Christmas, when we remember one of the greatest miracles that the Lord ever allowed to happen. It’s a reminder to us how God enters our humanity, how He takes a vested interest in each of our lives. God is always faithful to His promises. May we always hold onto that truth and trust that the Lord is at work in our lives.
Painting: Birth of St. John the Baptist, Artemisia Gentileschi. Museo del Prado. Wikicommons. Public Domain.