the worst for last
"Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, uttered this prophecy." —Luke 1:67
Throughout Advent, we have met some of history's greatest people: Elijah, John the Baptizer, Joseph, and Mary. On the last two days of Advent, the Church introduces us to Zechariah. The Church saves one of the worst for last. Now, Zechariah was "just in the eyes of God, blamelessly following all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord" (Lk 1:6). So he's not the worst person in the world. However, he is known for his doubt rather than his faith. This lack of faith resulted in Zechariah becoming deaf and dumb for nine months. Finally, Zechariah did believe and obey. At that point, his tongue was loosed (Lk 1:64); he was filled with the Holy Spirit; he prophesied and praised the Lord.
The Church may save Zechariah for last because we can relate to him better than to the fiery Elijah, the fearless John the Baptizer, the faith-filled and faithful Joseph, and the immaculate Mary. We can relate to Zechariah's doubt, weakness, deafness, and dumbness. We believe, but we have a lack of faith (see Mk 9:24). However, we can also relate to the later Zechariah who prophesied and praised in the power of the Spirit.
May we begin to celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas by experiencing the Holy Spirit as Zechariah did at the birth of John.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Advent. Complete Your work in my life. Do anything necessary to prepare me for Christmas.
Promise: "He, the Dayspring, shall visit us in His mercy to shine on those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." —Lk 1:78-79
Praise: "The favors of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim Your faithfulness" (Ps 89:2).
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2009
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