December 19

Luke 1:5-25

Announcement of the Birth of John

In today’s gospel, angel Gabriel breaks the news to Zechariah about her wife bearing a child despite her barrenness and old age. Zechariah finds it unbelievable and he is afraid too, this may be because he doesn’t know how to break this news to his kinsfolk without being labeled as being out of his mind. But God spares Zechariah from this undue burden. He intervenes and does all the talking for him. Zechariah is rendered ‘speechless and unable to talk until the days these things take place,’ (v. 9).

The problem with Zechariah is that he mistrusts God. He rejects what He says to him that his wife will bear a son, despite her barrenness and old age. Has he harbored bitterness against God because for all the years have passed God ignores his prayers to have a child? If only he has been quiet and spent time thinking instead of talking, he might remembers that God made a similar promise to Abraham concerning a son to be born and it came true. He does not remember also that several times in the course of salvation history, God chooses old or sterile women to bear a son who will initiate the next phase of salvation history. Like for example: Sarah, Isaac’s mother; Hannah, the Prophet Samuel’s mother and the unnamed mother of Samson. It was shameful for Jewish women to be unable to conceive. The Jews believed that it was a punishment from God for a sin the woman or an ancestor had committed. But these women continued to trust in God and remained faithful to Him.

This gospel reading offers us to reflect on the gift of children. Children are gifts of God to couples. To destroy such children is like a slap on the face of God. I pity those couples who pray always to God in order to have a child but the wives cannot conceive one. But above all it hurts me when I hear of countless unborn babies being aborted, killed and murdered by their mothers. This is not only an injustice and curtailment of their right to be born and live but this is a also horrible crime against a defenseless child in the womb of a mother. The womb of the mother now becomes the battleground by which the unprotected unborn child is considered the enemy. I read this research made last 1990 (Back to the Bible Today, Summer, 1990, p. 5) at Johns Hopkins University in the United States that, 30 to 40 years ago, the greatest fears of grade school children were: 1) Animals, 2) Being in a dark room, 3) High places, 4) Strangers, 5) Loud noises. Today, kids are afraid of the following: 1) Divorce, 2) Nuclear war, 3) Cancer, 4) Pollution, 5) Being mugged

Let us love our children, God calls us. In order to love our children, Dr. Ross Campbell in his book, How to Really Love Your Child, said that we must remember that:

  1. They are children.
  2. They tend to act like children.
  3. Much of childish behavior is unpleasant.
  4. If I do my part as a parent and love them despite their childish behavior, they will be able to mature and give up childish ways.
  5. If I only love them when they please me (conditional love), and convey my love to them only during those times, they will not feel genuinely loved. This in turn will make them insecure, damage their self-image, and actually prevent them from moving on to better self-control and more mature behavior. Therefore, their behavior is my responsibility as much as theirs.
  6. If I love them unconditionally, they will feel good about themselves and be comfortable with themselves. They will then be able to control their anxiety and, in turn, their behavior, as they grow into adulthood.

For us, through this gospel passage, God also tells us to trusts Him completely as this is our response to His great love for us. But I read something like this that the Ladies Home Journal (Sept, 1981) made a survey and asked, “In whom do you trust?” Responses were: Walter Cronkite 40% of the vote; Pope John Paul 26%; Billy Graham 6%; and only 3% answered that they trusted God.

See Today’s Readings: Year I,   Year II

OPTION  01,   02,   03,

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