December 24, 2016
Saturday of the Fourth Week in Advent – Mass in the Morning
The Gospel Today
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. Peter Collin C. Crisostomo)
The long wait is over. Tomorrow is Christmas Day. Tomorrow the Child is born. We are all excited to celebrate. A lot of preparations are surely being done in many houses today. Many of our relatives will celebrate with us. Giving gifts to children will be the heart of Christmas.
In today’s Gospel we are invited by Zechariah to praise God in celebrating the birth of his son, John, the precursor of Christ. We all know the story of Zechariah. Before his wife, Elizabeth gave birth to their child, he became mute due to his unbelief on the news of the angel. But today, Zechariah, full of joy, proclaims the greatness of God, for they were given a child in which every mother and father is assuming to have to form a family.
Sooner or later this child, John, will grow and will proclaim to the whole world the Messiah. He has a big responsibility for it was foretold: “I am sending my messenger ahead of you to prepare your way.”
How do we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Messiah? Are prepared to let Christ enter into our hearts?
In December 2014, I became busy in our parish for the preparation of Christmas. We bought a lot of decorations for the church, we even stayed very late just to finish all the designs for the church. We needed to wake up early the following day early because there is “Simbang Gabi” at 4:00 AM.
We succeeded in decorating the whole church. The parishioners were happy with what they saw. We forgot, however, to prepare our very hearts for the coming of Christ due to external preparations. We were unworthy of His love yet we felt that He still embraced and loved us despite everything we had done.