Saturday of the Third Week of Advent




Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 199

1st Reading – MAL 3:1-4, 23-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Lo, I will send you
Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
the great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with doom.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 25:4-5AB, 8-9, 10 AND 14

R. (see Luke 21:28) Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – LK 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Zechariah Returns to Faith

So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Luke 1:62-64

Our beautiful story continues as we grow closer to our Christmas Day celebration of the Birth of Christ. Today we once again reflect upon the person of Zechariah, the father of Saint John the Baptist. We recall how God blessed him and Elizabeth with this miraculous pregnancy at an old age after being barren. The Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the temple to reveal this glorious event, but Zechariah received it with disbelief. The result was that he was struck mute until this, the day of his birth.

Today’s Gospel reveals how Zechariah untied the knot of his disbelief. He did so by following the command of the angel to name the child “John.” Traditionally, their first born would be named Zechariah after his father. But God had picked the name “John” and, therefore, both Zechariah and Elizabeth are given the opportunity to embrace and manifest their faith by accepting the name given to their child by God.

In a sense, we can say that Zechariah “righted his wrong.” He righted it by making the choice of faith and acting on it. This is a great witness for all of us because all of us have failed in faith in one way or another. In the case of Zechariah, God punished him severely, stripping away his ability to speak. But what we see today is that this “stripping” of Zechariah’s speech was not done primarily as a punishment, but so that God could manifest His glory through Zechariah’s manifestation of his faith. People are “amazed” at Zechariah as he fulfills this act of faith and names his newborn child “John.” Thus his suffering is now a manifestation of the glory of God!

In all of our lives, we can regularly point to failures of faith. Sometimes, God sees fit to impose a severe “punishment” upon us as a result. We may endure some suffering or hardship for our failure to heed His voice wholeheartedly. But know that any “punishment” from God is not primarily a result of his wrath. Rather, most often the consequences of any lack of faith is permitted by God because He has something greater in mind. In this case, it was so that He could loose the tongue of Zechariah at the proper moment so that he could glorify God with great faith. In our lives, we should look for Him to do the same.

Reflect, today, upon any hardship you have endured as a result of your own weakness, sin or lack of faith. Do not see any hardship as a punishment in the normal sense of that word. Rather, see it as an opportunity through which God is calling you to give Him even greater glory.

Lord, I know I lack faith in my life. I fail to believe all that You speak to me. As a result, I often fail to put Your words into action. Dear Lord, when I suffer as a result of my weakness, help me to know that this and all suffering can result in giving glory to You if I renew my faith. Help me, like Zechariah, to return to You always, and use me as an instrument of Your manifest glory. Jesus, I trust in You.

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