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Posts Tagged ‘Zechariah’


angels-announcing-the-birth-of-christ-to-the-shepherds-flinck-govert-teunisz-1024x792-dec-30

Linck Govert Teunisz: Angels Announcing the Birth of Christ to the Shepherds

Luke: Do Not Fear – Part V

Christmas Friday, December 30, 2016

Do not be afraid. We need to hear these words. We need to share these words. We need to use these words every day.

The angel of the Lord speaks to the high priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, assuring his that the Living God was making the impossible possible in their lives.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. (Luke 1:13)

The angel of the Lord speaks to the girl Mary, the mother of Jesus, assuring her that the Living God was entering her life in a special way.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. (Luke 1:30)

The angel of the Lord speaks to shepherds who guard their flocks on the night of Jesus’ birth, assuring them that a newness has just entered into a weary world.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10)

Jesus speaks to Jairus, a synagogue leader, assuring him that his daughter is alive and has not died.

But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” (Luke 8:50)

Jesus speaks to the people, assuring them that the darkness of the world can be dissipated by the light of truth and peace.

“I say to you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. (Luke 12:4)

Jesus speaks to his followers, assuring them that the evil of the world is transformed by love.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

Anton Raphael Mengs: Dream of Saint Joseph

Anton Raphael Mengs: Dream of Saint Joseph

Lifetimes after these verses are recorded, we remind ourselves that the impossible is possible with God. All harm becomes goodness through God. Darkness becomes light. Despair becomes home. Doubt becomes faith. Evil becomes love. And for all of these reasons, we need not fear.

Today we might ask, “How do we live in order to remember that we need not be afraid? How do we live in such a way that we demonstrate our understanding that God is everywhere and lives in us? And how do we share this Good News in our thoughts words and deeds?

In Matthew 1:19An angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. To learn why, visit: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/why-did-joseph-plan-to-divorce-mary 

Throughout Christmastide, we continue to remember God’s words, “Do not be afraid”.

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Luke 1-2: Behold the Christ

Antonio Baletsra:

The Nativity – detail

Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, 2016

In this final week of Advent, let us decide to make our hopes tangible, our dreams a prayer for our reality, our faith unwavering and our love secure. Let us cleave to the Creator, follow the Redeemer and rest in the Spirit. This week let us give one another the gift of preparing for the very real promise of eternity.

The high priest Zechariah learns patience so that he might behold Emmanuel, God Among Us. While he awaits the birth of his only child who will become the announcer and baptizer of the Christ, he waits in patient hope until the day his speech returns.

And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” (Luke 1:20)

The girl Mary learns that God can do the impossible when the angel Gabriel visits her with the astounding news that she will bring the Light of the World to waiting humanity.

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. (Luke 1:31)

Mary learns the astounding news that her elderly cousin Elizabeth has conceived life. An affirmation that with God, all things are possible.

And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. (Luke 1:36)

Mary learns that her confidence in God is rewarded as she responds with her, “Yes,” to God’s invitation to enter into union with all of creation in a most special way.

And Mary said, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

Elizabeth learns that her young cousin Mary is the new ark of the new Word. These kinswomen greet one another just as each of us might if we understand God’s message of hope.

For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:44)

The marginalized shepherds learn the redeeming news that the Messiah has come to live among them as a vulnerable child.

But the angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; (Luke 2:10)

The wise man Simeon learns that his outrageous hope has been rewarded. He has met the Savior of the World, just as God has promised.

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— (Luke 2:34)

The woman Mary learns that this child she must share with world for the redemption of all is fully human and fully divine.

When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” (Luke 2:48)

Each of us is given the opportunity on this Good Night to become apostles of Christ. Each of us might carry Christ within and share him with the world. Each of us truly human and truly divine as our brother Jesus tells us. Each of us is given the gift of this Nochebuena, this wonderful Good Night. Let us rejoice with the shepherds. Let us give our confident “yes” to God’s plan. And let us behold the marvelous gift we hold in our hands.

In the Hispanic culture Christmas Eve bears the title of Nochebuena. Read more about this custom at: http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/spain.shtml

These verses are taken from the NASB translation of Luke. Other versions open this story so that our ears might hear, our eyes might see, and our hearts might open wide to welcome Christ into our lives in a very real, very human, very divine way.

adoratio

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rembrandt: St. Anna the Prophetess

Rembrandt: St. Anna the Prophetess

Luke 2:36-38

Anna

She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.

“A fourth and final [Lucan] theme is expressed in Simeon’s word to Mary (apparently this occurs in the outer court where women were allowed).  Jesus will bring truth and light and will effect decision and judgmentHowever, in so doing he will face opposition and death.  When Jesus comes to Jerusalem as an adult, the journey will be his ‘exodus’ (NRSV: ‘departure,’ 9:31).

“Simeon’s words are confirmed by Anna, a devout woman of advanced age . . . The two aged saints are Israel in miniature, poised in anticipation of the new.  God is leading Israel to the Messiah, but the Messiah will weep over this city because it did not know the time of the messianic visitation (19:41-44)”. (Mays 932)

Scholars describe Anna as having insight that most of us lack and she appears in this story to affirm the Messiah’s identity.  She is likely 105 years old, lives in or near the Temple, and dedicates her days and nights to a life of service to and in God; but she is no doddering ancient.  Robin Gallaher Branch describes her saying that “her lifestyle evidently invigorates her, for she is mobile, articulate, alert, spiritually savvy and unselfish”. (Branch)

Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, Anna and Simeon, servants, disciples, prophets . . . all announcing that openness and peace and joy have come to a people who yearn to be free, that light and courage and hope have come to a people who wait in darkness, that healing and consolation and union have come to a people who remain faithful despite their fear.  As we approach the third Sunday of Advent, a time when we announce to the world with joy that the Messiah is come, let us remember that we are Advent people.  And let us, like Anna, be articulate, alert, spiritually savvy and unselfish as we declare to all the world that the one who saves is indeed come to live among us.

For insight into the importance of Anna the Prophetess, one of the Bible’s most unusual women, by Robin Gallaher Branch, click on the image above or go to: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/anna-in-the-bible/

Branch, Robin Gallaher. “Anna in the Bible.” Bible History Daily. Biblical Archeology Society, 19 Apr 2013. Web. 15 Dec 2013. .

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 932. Print.

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Canticle of Zechariah

Zechariah and the Angel Gabriel

Luke 1:57-80, 2:29-32

Canticles

When we pray the Liturgy of the Hours we participate in the rhythmic repetition of the morning and evening canticles that we find here in Luke.  They – along with the presentation of petition, glorification and thanksgiving through the psalms – give our days and nights a deep sense of tranquility.  These times of meditation and contemplation create the pathways through which God speaks.  The heart, in this way, willingly readies the soul in hospitality for the reception of the Holy Spirit and the presence of Christ.  Prayer cleanses the mind, prepares the spirit and animates the heart for the reception of God’s revelation to us.  Nothing can be more important for it is our intentional and incidental prayers that bring us sanity and serenity.  These canticles of praise help us to travel through our days, our years, our lives.

No one experiences life without feeling distress and anxiety, and it is when we turn to God – the source of all that is good – that we are healed, lifted up, salvaged and restored.  When we allow harm to transform us through our grieving and our trust in God, we find the joy expressed in the canticles we read today.  We also find reason to celebrate God’s salvific love.

Champaigne: Visitation The Canticle of Mary or the Magnificat

Champaigne: Visitation
The Canticle of Mary or the Magnificat

These canticles sung by Zechariah who finds his voice after the loss of speech, and by Mary, who anticipated greatest joy and greatest sorrow, are meant to carry us from sun up to sun down continually.  The canticle of Simeon, which the Liturgy of the Hours designates as part of the Night Prayer, is an anthem of gratitude, and together these songs can bracket our goings and our comings, they can guide our days and nights, they can fill us with hope and trust in God.

When we sit with Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 18, and John 10:31-42 we can see how we too might sing canticles of praise for God’s providence as we move from dread to joy.

I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side!  Denounce!  let us denounce him!”  All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine . . . In my time of distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice . . . From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears . . . The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.  Jesus answered them . . . “If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father”.  Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.

The Prophets Simeon and Anna with the Christ Child

The Prophets Simeon and Anna
with the Christ Child

And so we pray . . .

God is in his temple and he hears my voice, it reaches his ears . . . we are the temple in which God resides, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

They tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power . . . we have nothing to fear when we walk in the way which is lighted by the light of Christ.

Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord! For He has delivered the soul of the needy one . . . we have everything to gain when we live in God.

As we begin our Advent journey, let us sing these canticles at dawn, at the setting of the sun, and when we lie down to rest.  And as we escape from the power of terror’s grip and watch it melt away, let us turn to God in all things, in all ways, at all times . . . and let us sing our canticle of joy.  Amen.

Adapted from a reflection written on April 3, 2009.

To explore these songs of praise and what they can mean to us, click on the images above or go to The Liturgy of the Hours page on this blog.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ghirlandaio: Annunciation of John the Baptist to Zechariah

Ghirlandaio: Annunciation of John the Baptist to Zechariah

Luke 1:20-25

Speechless

But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the days these things take place. 

We cavil against God’s plan; we complain about God’s time; we fuss with the details of God’s space and time. And this despite the evidence of God’s love and care that stand boldly and honestly before us.  We persist in worrying and hoping to control.

God says: The story of Zechariah may seem a harsh one but when you look more closely you will see another layer.  In all those days that Zechariah could not speak he drew nearer to me than he had at any other time in his life.  And out of this great restraint and learning comes the beautiful fruit of his knowing my love.

We too frequently see the details of God’s plan as stumbling blocks rather than stepping stones.  We too seldom trust that God’s infinite plan brings compassion to all.

The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; the reproach of God’s people the Lord will remove from the whole earth.  (Isaiah 25:8)

Listen to the words of the song Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman and imagine what we might learn when we cease talking and begin to listen.  Imagine the strength of God’s love that leaves us speechless.

Visit the Benedictus page on this blog to reflect on Zechariah’s response to God when his speech returns.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Carlo Dolci: The Angel Gabriel

Carlo Dolci: The Angel Gabriel

Luke 1:18-19

How Shall We Know This?

I am Gabriel who stands before God.  I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.  

Gabriel appears to Daniel (Daniel 9:21), Zechariah (Luke 1:19) and Mary (Luke 1:26) to announce good news from God.  We too want to hear words that lift our hearts as we manage the complexities and challenges of living.

God says: My angels bring you constant messages although they struggle to be heard amid the cacophony of your lives.  If you are able to find a regular quiet time – even if for only a few moments each day – when you will draw apart to open the door of your heart to me, you will feel the presence of my angels.  You will also feel my own presence within you.  How shall you know this?   Only come to me . . . and you will know.

The words of Psalm 138 remind us: I thank you, Lord, with all my heart, you have heard the words of my mouth.  In the presence of the angels I will bless you . . . I thank you for your faithfulness and love  . . . You increased the strength of my soul . . . All earth’s kings shall thank you . . . They shall sing of the Lord’s ways. 

How shall we know that God is great?

St. Paul reminds the Colossians: Be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 

How shall we know?  When we create time for God in our hectic lives, we will come to know.

Enter the word angels into the blog search bar and explore.

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