Grace to you!
Saint Jerome, the great Scripture scholar of the 4th century said that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” How true this is. By reading God’s Word in Scripture, we relate to some facts about the Lord.
For instance, the Gospel of Luke 1:5-25 wrote elaborately about the birth of John the Baptist, a popular prophet in Jewish and Christian history who is regarded as the forerunner of Jesus. His birth was preannounced as one who will come to introduce the Messiah to the world. The Lord’s birth was equally preannounced in much more elaborate ways in many Old Testament books.
Archangel Gabriel appeared to Zachariah (who will be the father of John the Baptist) when he was presiding as a priest before God in the Temple. According to the priestly function custom, it fell on him to enter the temple and burn incense to the Lord. It was in the course of exercising this priestly function that the angel of the Lord appeared to him. The visit was to announce the good news that Elizabeth, his wife, who had long passed the age of child birth, would have a son, who he shall call John. We learn from this that God visits us at our duty posts and as we go about doing our usual routines of service.
The angel gave Zachariah specific information about the role of the child to be born (John the Baptist). For example, the angel said that, “He will be great before the Lord. “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his Mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the Spirit and Power of Elijah” (Lk 1:14-17)
John “will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his Mother’s womb.” (v. 15). This prophesy actually happened in Luke 1:41 when Mary the Mother of Jesus visited Elizabeth. Mary herself was a few days pregnant of Jesus. Scripture tells us what happened when Mary greeted Elizabeth: “And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the Child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” John the Baptist received the anointing of the Holy Spirit through an encounter with Jesus through Mary the Mother.
The second prophecy to Zechariah that John will go before the Lord in “the Spirit and Power of Elijah” (v. 17) was an Old Testament prophecy in Malachy 4:5. Jesus in Matthew 11:14 and Matthew 17:13 confirmed that John the Baptist was Elijah come again. This was a prophesy fulfilled and points to the reality that Jesus is the expected Lord whose coming was preannounced.
These facts remind us, as we prepare for Christmas, to remember that God has a plan. His plan is not by accident. He has a plan for you too. We have to ask every time to know God’s plan in our lives and follow it.
Perhaps six days before Christmas, as we get about wrapping our Christmas gifts, unwrapping the bible we’ve not read for weeks or even months, and reading the first two chapters of the Gospels, may help us to prepare for the Lord’s nativity celebration.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Advent December 19: Jgs 13:2-7, 24-25a; Lk: 1:5-25]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations this Advent Season.