Today’s Gospel speaks of hope, which springs up from God’s tender mercy, and which is experienced not only by a few individuals, but by all the people. It is like an experience of “sunrise” or “daybreak” (anatolē). “Sunrise” is a beautiful imagery of hope used in the Canticle of Zechariah or Benedictus. Zechariah blesses the Lord, the God of Israel, who has visited his people and brought redemption up-on all. Zechariah expresses an experience of salvation that has sprung up from God’s tender mercy and which will be experienced by the people at large. Zechariah, in turn, represents the people who already have experienced the fulfillment of what God has promised them. His joy is like the “sunrise” which gently touches not only a selected few but all. Do we welcome and value God’s tender mercy that comes to us daily in manifold ways? Upon experiencing God’s mercy, are we now strengthened to face our everyday life with hope? With all the preparations we have made this Advent, are we more hopeful now and ready to generate hope for everyone?
Gospel • Luke 1:67-79
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”