Readings 20141224

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at

Does the proclamation of the Gospel fill you with joy and hope? When the Lord comes to redeem us he fills us with his Holy Spirit, the source of our joy and hope in the promises of God.
John the Baptist was born shortly before Mary delivered her son, Jesus. When John was circumcised on the eighth day according to the Jewish rite, his father Zechariah was “filled with the Holy Spirit” and with great joy. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he spoke out a prophetic word and hymn of blessing for the work of redemption which God was about to accomplish in Christ. He foresaw the fulfillment of God’s promise to David and his descendants that David’s dynasty would endure forever through the coming of the Messianic King (2 Samuel 7:16). This King would establish peace and security for his people. We often think of peace as the absence of trouble. The peace which the Messiah brings cancels the debt of sin and restores our broken relationship with God.

The Holy Spirit gave Zechariah a vision for his own son as a prophet and forerunner who would prepare the way for the Messiah. Every devout Jew longed for the day when the Messiah would come. Now Zechariah knows beyond a doubt that that day is very near. Like Zechariah, the Holy Spirit wants to give us vision, joy, and confidence in the knowledge of God’s merciful love, protection, and care which he offers us through his Son Jesus Christ. Like the Baptist, we too are called to prepare the way that leads to Christ. Life is a journey and we are either moving towards the Lord or away from the Lord. The Lord comes to visit us each day with his life-giving Word and Spirit. Those who hunger for the Lord will not be disappointed. He will draw them to himself and show them his love and mercy.

In sending the Messiah God has made a gracious visit to his people to redeem them. This was the mission for which Jesus Christ was sent into the world – to redeem those sold for sin and sold under sin. In the feast of the Incarnation we celebrate the gracious gift of God in sending his only begotten Son to redeem us. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may inspire us and fill us with joy and boldness to proclaim the message of the Lord’s visitation and redemption.

“Lord Jesus, you have been gracious and merciful towards your people. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may bear witness to the joy of the Gospel to those around me.”

The following reflection is courtesy of (c) 2014. Their website is located at

“Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel because He has visited and ransomed His people.” —Luke 1:68
Many hundreds of thousands of priests and religious have promised under pain of sin to pray each morning today’s Gospel reading, Zechariah’s canticle, as part of praying the Liturgy of the Hours. I promised to do this decades ago, and by God’s grace I have kept my promise.

The Church so emphasizes Zechariah’s prophecy because:

It is a prophecy, and prophets are part of the foundation of the Church (Eph 2:20).
Zechariah prayed this prayer when he was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Lk 1:67). May we also be filled with the Holy Spirit when we pray it.
This prophecy teaches us that each morning should remind us that Jesus is “the Dayspring” (Lk 1:78), the Dawn, the Light of the world (Jn 8:12).
This prophecy immediately precedes the Bible’s account of the first Christmas, and praying this prayer has proven a good way to prepare to meet Christ in a new way during the Christmas season.
Although most of you are not obligated to pray Zechariah’s canticle each day, pray it today and each day of the Christmas season. You may decide to pray this prayer forever as Jesus guides your “feet into the way of peace” (Lk 1:79).

Prayer: Jesus, may I make any sacrifice necessary to give You myself as Your Christmas gift. Promise: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before Me; your throne shall stand firm forever.” —2 Sm 7:16 Praise: “Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel because He has visited and ransomed His people” (Lk 1:67).
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements