The Gospel Today
Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent
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 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.”
Reflection (Sem. Carmelo V. Pocdol)
Merry Christmas! A few hours from now, we will once again celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Families will prepare food to make the celebration more festive, to add to the exchanging of gifts. Above all, there is fellowship and thanksgiving for the blessings of love, faith, peace and hope received throughout the year.
Among the past Christmas celebrations in my life, the most meaningful was in 2011. It was a few days after Typhoon Sendong washed away our simple abode. It was the Christmas day that we were homeless. But I was so thankful that I experienced being homeless, just as Jesus Christ was when He was born. I felt the compassion of God during those days, after we were saved by God from the wrath of the flood.
In today’s Gospel, Zechariah praises our Lord, for his son John will go before Jesus to let the people know of His coming. The message of John is the tender compassion of God, revealed when He sent us His son to save us. He forgives us and He guides us to the way of peace.
In the context of my seminary life, I have realized that it is always Christmas in the priestly formation. God always invites me to proclaim the central message of Jesus Christ coming into our lives. He lets us know that we have a God who is full of love. He is ready to forgive us from our sins. He is a God who guides us to live life to the fullest.