Advent 2016

Fourth Saturday of Advent - December 24th

2Sm 7: 1-5, 8, 12, 14, 16 // Ps 89: 2-5, 27, 29 // Lk 1: 66-79

Each of today’s readings takes place after a momentous event has occurred. In the first reading, David has subdued his enemies, in particular the Philistines, who had persecuted the Israelites for a long period of time. King David has settled contentedly into his palace and the Lord speaks to him through the prophet Nathan.  David wants to build a house to honor the Lord but HE speaks through Nathan about building another kind of house, not one of bricks and mortar. It is a house which shall endure forever and as we all know, it is from the house of David which Christ was born.

In the second reading, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, was able to speak after becoming mute. The LORD spoke to Zechariah through the Angel Gabriel and told him that he and his wife were to have a son despite their old age. After a moment of doubt Zechariah is dumbfounded – literally struck mute. Months later when Zechariah writes on a tablet that his newborn son should be named John, he is once again able to speak. Today’s reading is Zechariah’s Canticle, the words which were spoken when his tongue was loosened.

Zechariah’s tongue was loosened, but it was his eyes which were opened. He understood that the Lord would fulfill his promise to save the Israelites from their enemies and set them free. Free to “serve him in holiness” and receive salvation upon the coming of his Son, Jesus Christ. Their house and kingdom would be not just of this world. Moreover, the freedom they were given was the freedom to be forgiven of their sins. That was Jesus’ gift to us all.

We celebrate the birth of Christ each year. It is a celebration of the gift of eternal life and the chance to reflect upon the fact that each of us “has the knowledge of salvation, which comes from the forgiveness of our sins.” God has given us the gift of forgiveness, so remember to forgive yourselves and each other along the way.

Richard P. Brennan
Villanova Board of Trustees