READINGS for 2006-12-19

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



?How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.? ? Luke 1:18

In one of my wild imaginings, I have dreamed of this scene: An angel, in all his grandeur, appearing to my husband, ?Behold, you shall have a son?? I snap out of it quickly though, before all the heavenly smoke disappears. Somehow it just doesn?t add up.
    My husband and I have been married six years and still have no baby to call our own. It has been a wait filled with highs and lows. It is difficult, sometimes frustrating, and often sad. It is an ultimate lesson in trust. It is an experience that tests our faith and hope every day.
    It is not always easy to wait. It is so much easier to doubt.
   That is why I can relate to Zechariah. His was an incredulous predicament: to believe or not to believe. But that is why it is called faith. Faith is the belief in things yet unseen, an assurance of things hoped for.
    Christmas is a time of renewed faith and hope. May our hearts be filled anew with the meaning of this season. Lallaine G.

Is my life a testament to faith and hope?

Lord, open my eyes of faith to the miracles in store for me this season. Amen.



Judges 13:2-7, 24-25

Samson is yet another example of a child born to a woman thought to be barren. God has a way of making the unexpected, and even impossible, happen. It demonstrates that despite the appearances of things, He is still in charge. And I would not want to have it any other way! Such children are usually born with a specific mission in mind. Thus, when two such births come together in John the Baptist and Jesus, we can be sure that there is a truly great event about to take place! Let us thank God for His mercy and that He chooses to act in our lives to save us from our sins.

2 There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren and had borne no children. 3 An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, ?Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. 4 Now, then, be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean. 5 As for the son you will conceive and bear, no razor shall touch his head, for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb. It is he who will begin the deliverance of Israel from the power of the Philistines.? 6 The woman went and told her husband, ?A man of God came to me; he had the appearance of an angel of God, terrible indeed. I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ?You will be with child and will bear a son. So take neither wine nor strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb, until the day of his death.?? 24 The woman bore a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up and the LORD blessed him; 25 the spirit of the LORD first stirred him.


Psalm 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17

R: My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!

3 Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. (R) 5 For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. 6 On you I depend from birth; from my mother?s womb you are my strength. (R) 16 I will treat of the mighty works of the LORD; O God, I will tell of your singular justice. 17 O God, you have taught me from my youth, and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds. (R)


Luke 1:5-25

Barrenness for a Jewish woman was the source of tremendous humiliation. It was thought to be a sign of the Lord?s lack of favor upon the persons involved, particularly the woman. This is why Elizabeth rejoices at her pregnancy because her source of suffering is suddenly removed. Also, it came in such a way that people would have begun to wonder what was in store for the child about to be born. God has done something miraculous here and He never acts in such a way without a very important reason.

5 In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years. 8 Once when he was serving as priest in his division?s turn before God, 9 according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. 10 Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering, 11 the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zechariah was deeply disturbed upon seeing him. 13 But the angel said to him, ?Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of [the] Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother?s womb, 16 and he will  turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.? 18 Then Zechariah said to the angel, ?How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.? 19 And the angel said to him in reply, ?I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. 20 But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place,  because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.? 21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute. 23 Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. 24 After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, 25 ?So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.?

my reflections
God has a way of making the unexpected, and even impossible, happen.



God?s special verse/thought for me today________________



Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________





It seems that the husbands are God?s target these two days. Yesterday, Joseph, the husband of Mary was visited by the angel of the Lord in a dream. Today, Zechariah, the husband of Elizabeth, was met by the angel Gabriel inside the Holy of Holies. Both were men who loved astonishing women. Both were shocked by astonishing news. Yesterday was about a young virgin who conceived by the Holy Spirit. Today is about an old barren whose womb God made fresh again for the birth of the Greatest Prophet.
      But there is a difference between these two husbands. The first did not say a word before the news. The other could not say a word after the news. Joseph came to know about Mary?s conceiving without him touching her, but he decided to silently divorce her so as not to expose her to the Law. Zechariah always wanted to have a child from Elizabeth, but when finally he had, he was silent. The first was a virtue. The second a punishment. The first was due to Joseph?s love for Mary and faith in God. The second was due to Zechariah?s doubt.
      The Lord continues to amaze us, to surprise us, even to shock us with revelation of His will for us. When we are silent, let us examine if our silence is due to love and faith or due to doubt. The first is a virtue while the second is punishment. Fr. Bobby T.

What does my silence before God really mean?

We believe in You and Your plans for us, O God. But increase our love and faith so that we may have virtue, not punishment. Yet when we doubt, may our silence prepare us to sing again in praise and thanksgiving to You who never fail to surprise us with Your ways. Amen.

St. Nemesius, martyr, pray for us.

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