Gospel Reading (Lk 1:57-66)
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,v. 64
and he spoke blessing God.
Imagine how Zechariah must have been going over and over in his mind, and maybe even writing out, what he was going to say when (and he knew it was “when” — see Lk 1:20) he was again granted the power of speech by God. We will hear his beautiful Benedictus tomorrow in direct preparation for Christmas Day, but he must have had so much more to share about his encounter with the angel some nine months earlier and the enforced silent retreat he experienced since then (note the “fear” that came upon the neighbors at Zechariah’s sudden outburst in v. 65). This blessed time gave him much opportunity to reflect on his relationship with the Lord and the need to trust Him completely. He also must have thought deeply about, and read, studied, and contemplated, the Torah during this period, particularly the prophetic books. What was this miracle child to become? We don’t know how long he lived after this, but he was certainly never the same.
I wonder about Mary in relation to this episode. The verse directly preceding today’s passage (the last verse of yesterday’s Gospel) gives the impression she left the hill country before the events related today. But this seems to me quite unlikely. We know the angel told Mary at the Annuniciation that Elizabeth was six months along and that Mary went quickly to visit her and stayed three months, so that covers at least nine months, probably a bit more. Why would she leave as Elizabeth was just about to give birth? No, it seems to me that Mary got to take all of this in, adding more to ponder in her heart. And, by the way, enabling her to relate these momentous happening to Luke when he was compiling his Gospel many decades later. I love the thought of the Virgin with Child holding the newborn John, contemplating what the future would bring for both. And if little John was dancing in the womb a few months earlier, imagine how he must have felt then, being right next to God incarnate and in the arms of His mother.
Fradd Nails It
I really appreciate Matt Fradd and wholeheartedly support his ministry. He is faithful, smart, honest, humble, and a great interviewer. Today he came out with a video that is worth watching, not only because of the New York magazine cover story that prompted it but, flowing from his opinions regarding it, what it bodes for faithful Catholics on social media and various platforms. His concerns are my concerns.
Before he even got to reading from one of Paul’s letters, the following passage was already in my brain. This entire passage falls under the heading, in the New American Bible, “Punishment for Idolaters.” When you get the first commandment wrong, the rest will quickly follow.
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.Rom 1: 18-32
I encourage you to subscribe to his YouTube channel (before it’s too late) and other platforms, watch some of his stuff, and like & subscribe.
Apropos of the last topic, I have been working through Revelation using the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. Phenomenal. If you are one of the many, like me, who is confounded by the last book of the Bible, you will not come across a better and more thorough dissection of John’s writing. Having just read chapter 13 of Revelation, similar themes as those above have come up. A frightening time awaits the faithful, as the idolaters won’t be crossed, and the idolaters, as God will not be mocked.