Drawing consolation not questions – Monday, 4th Week in Advent – Jgs13:2-7,24-25a/Luke 1:5-25

Drawing consolation not questions – Monday, 4th Week in Advent – Jgs13:2-7,24-25a/Luke 1:5-25

Sometime ago I wrote an article based on today’s Gospel. I entitled it ‘A man in silence a woman in seclusion- and all this is good news! ‘ You can read the same by clicking on this link https://www.pottypadre.com/a-man-in-silence-a-woman-in-seclusion-and-all-this-is-good-news-saturday-3rd-week-in-advent-luke-15-25/

Today, I want to share three reflections that flow from this Gospel.

1. Why do bad things happen to good people?
This is an eternal question that has come to haunt us. It’s not a sporadic question but for those who are faithful it seems that this question pops up ever so often in our head. The Gospel presents us with Zacharias and Elizabeth; both we are told, “were righteous before God, living blameless according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord” but and here is the big BUT, they were barren. To be barren was a social stigma at that time; an unbearable shame. So why them?

Draw consolation not a question from this text. We who love the Lord with all our heart stand in line with the saints who also had great challenges thrown at them. Heartache, suffering and challenges are not a sign of God’s disapproval nor is winning a lottery a sign of God’s love. God is not to be turned into the image of Santa who sees if you have been bad or good and then chucks a goody down your chimney as a reward. God is good and calls our every response to every challenge to also be good, thereby bringing goodness to the world. Zechariah still went to the temple, his love for worship was not conditional to the gifts he thought he deserved.

2. In his time – an acclamation of faith
For many, “In his time” is merely a hymn we sing in Church. Yet, this hymn is not some a ‘restoril’ for a troubled heart with the power to numb you in troubled times. On the contrary, this hymn is a loud and vociferous acclamation of faith that we proclaim. When we sing this hymn, it is our way of affirming that God in the past has delivered for us and that he will do the same. He did it for Zechariah and Elizabeth at a time when they were well past child bearing years. He sent us a saviour in his time and when Christ will come again, it will be in his time.

3. Do not be afraid – the message of Christmas
Fear grips all of us and to be afraid is natural. If you encounter a tiger in a forest, please be afraid enough to run for your life; counting his teeth will only find you examining the inside of his stomach. The problem with fear is when it takes control of us constantly; that damages us. The Christmas story resonated with people who at first were afraid; in fact, three of the four were heavyweights of the Christmas narrative. Zechariahs was afraid (1:12), Mary was afraid (1:30), Joseph was afraid to take Mary home to be his wife, the shepherds were afraid 2:10). Yet the Christmas story is also filled with reassurance. Four times you will find that words expressing fear and apprehension are met with the message of assurance from no less than the angels; each time the message is the same, “do not be afraid.” The Christmas story is our story too for we too experience a world of fear but we too experience the comfort of God.

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