It’s Christmas Eve or Trinity Sunday? – Saturday, 4th week in Advent – Luke 1:67-79

It’s Christmas Eve and the song of Zechariah or the Benedictus is ‘sung’ at the Gospel today. The Benedictus is a prayer of thanksgiving said by Zachariah at the birth of St. John the Baptist. It is called the Benedictus because it begins with the Latin word “blessed.”

Zechariah’s hymn of praise at the birth of John has many parallels with Mary’s Magnificat. It is firmly rooted in the Old Testament and the faith story of the people. The prayer focusses primarily on Jesus, as Saviour, not John. God is faithful to the promises God has made. John is the prophet who will go before the Lord to prepare the way and give knowledge of salvation. The tender mercy of God offers light, hope and the way of peace.

Interestingly, there may be a little detail that may elude us. The Benedictus is preceded by the fact that the Holy Spirit filled Zechariah and he spoke this prophecy regarding Jesus. The Holy Spirit is integral to the Christmas narrative. It is the Holy Spirit that comes upon Mary and covers her while the power of the most high overshadows her. Elizabeth too was filled with the Holy Spirit when she heard the greeting of Mary at Ein Karim. In Today’s text, the Holy Spirit fills Zechariah prompting this prophecy. It is the Holy Spirit that rested on Simeon in the temple and guided him to meet the parents of Jesus at his circumcision. The Christmas story is a Trinitarian one; the will of God the Father, the Birth of Christ the son and the workings of the Holy Spirit.

God has come to rescue his people as he promised long ago. The promise still holds for us. Whatever trouble we may be in, God is coming to save us and we can be at peace.

On the eve of Christmas, I want to wish all of you, my dear faithful readers on and all of you who follow my YouTube channel a very happy Christmas. As some of you may be aware I will be taking a sabbatical for two years in five months from now. I will be moving to Goa where I will continue to study scripture and write and record my teachings.

Have a blessed Christmas day tomorrow. We will not be broadcasting tomorrow but will be back on Monday, 26th December. It is a special day for the parish of St Stephen as we will be stepping into our 75th year as a parish. His Eminence, Cardinal Oswald Gracias will celebrate the Thanksgiving mass at six pm here at St Stephen’s. Do join us in the celebration of the Hoy Eucharist.

God bless you all and Happy Christmas once again.

Fr Warner D’souza

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