When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The right time has arrived for us today, for the last preparation, just like the preparation that we make before an examination. This time is an intense moment of our spiritual life, because, we are called to prepare something without any clarity of the way Jesus is going to come in this season.
Two days before Christmas, the holy Church invites us to welcome John the Baptist like Prophet Elijah and with him to prepare the way, which will lead us to this surprising God, who has chosen to be born into our humanity.
In these days, I invite you to discover the preparation that God desires of us and to identify our strength and weakness in the Christian life. So that our strength may be a grace for others and our weakness be an opportunity for us to grow in the Lord. There we will discover the hand of the Lord that teaches us to walk, to walk the right way.
Action of the day: Walk in the divine presence.
“‘What, then, will this child be?’ For surely the hand of the Lord was with him”
Fr. Miquel MASATS i Roca
Today, in the first reading we read: “Now I am sending my messenger he will prepare the way before me” (Mal 3:1). John the Baptist fulfills Malachi’s prophecy. He is one of the main characters in the liturgy of Advent. He invites us to prepare ourselves with prayer and penance for the arrival of the Lord. As the collect of today's Mass says: “Your Son's birth is near; may the love of He who is the Word made flesh who became man in the Virgin's womb to live among men, welcome us”.
The Precursor's birth speaks of the proximity of Christmas. The Lord is at hand!: let's get ourselves ready! When asked who he was by the priests who had come from Jerusalem, he said: “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, Make straight the way of the Lord.’” (Jn 1:23).
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20), we read in the Communion antiphone. It is necessary to examine ourselves to see how we are preparing ourselves to receive Jesus this Christmas: God, more than anything, wants to be born in our hearts.
The Precursor's life teaches us the virtues we need to receive Jesus properly; fundamentally, humility of the heart. He acknowledges himself as an instrument of God, to fulfil his vocation, his mission. As Saint Ambrose says: «Do not boast that they call you son of God —let us acknowledge His grace without forgetting our human nature—; do not become proud if you have served well because you have done just what was expected from you. The sun does its job, the moon obeys, and the angels of the Lord do their duty. The instrument chosen by God for serve the Gentiles said: “For I am the least* of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1Cor 15:9)."
We are looking for the glory of God only. The virtue of humility will help us to prepare ourselves for the coming festivities appropriately.