The good news for the day December 19, 2016
Monday of the Fourth Week in Advent (193)
In the days when Herod the Great was King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly class of Abijah; his wife was a daughter of Aaron—named Elizabeth. The couple was virtuous in the eyes of God—observing all the directives and rules of the Lord blamelessly. They did not have any children—Elizabeth was barren; both, advanced in years. … After this time his wife Elizabeth did become pregnant, and she went into seclusion for five months, with the remark, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when He has seen fit to take away my public humiliation.” (Luke 1)
This tale is part of a much longer Gospel section—where Zechariah, during his turn doing priestly duties, the angel Gabriel appears to him, says his wife will conceive—he apparently doubts it—the angel strikes him mute. Elizabeth does become pregnant and delivers John, the baptizer.
What do you think of this story? Not a docudrama, history, or record of an event saved by an electronic gadget—the writer offers it to us for a reason.
Consider this: The genealogy mentions that, from both sides of his family, John was “priestly”—a hereditary job—but John rejects becoming employed as a priest at the Jerusalem temple. He becomes a baptizer—an ascetic in the desert who believes the “kingdom of God is at hand” and people must repent—change their ways—to prepare for it
Did it dawn on him—with his good parents—old ways need new understanding—laws and prophets need to be seized by your heart, made ready for fresh surprises? Is their old age a symbol for the past—to give birth to a new Way, a miraculous shift of direction? Have you found that shift—from the cherished past, from non-miracles—to daily miracles—from looking back—to expecting God to show in unexpected ways (a stable)? Do you grasp this change—each person is called to take the life given them and “convert”—to see the whole world differently, fresh and alert?