Advent, December 24th, Mass in the Morning

Today’s Gospel is a prayer said every morning for the Liturgy of the Hours: the Benedictus of Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father. As we saw yesterday Zechariah regained his voice after he’d lacked faith in the promise the angel Gabriel had made to him that he would have a son and that his son would be the prophet immediately before the coming of the Lord. Zechariah’s first words are in praise of God for the coming of the Lord to save his people and for the blessings he had showered upon his son.

With the coming of the Lord Zechariah rejoices that the promises made as far back as Abraham are about to be fulfilled. Today’s First Reading reminds us that the coming of the Messiah is the coming of stability and peace for Israel forever, and a definitive defeat for her enemies. For Israelites who might only see this is something socio-political, as well as those who see a spiritual and religious reign where evil is definitively cast out it is good news. Salvation doesn’t begin with Our Lord’s Passion; it begins with his Incarnation and birth. The minute his little feet hit the manger the work of our salvation has begun in earnest.

As we’ve seen in the last few days before Christmas the Holy Spirit is eager to fill us with joy and a deeper awareness of the mysteries of salvation unfolding in these days. Just as the Spirit showered down these graces upon Mary and all of John the Baptist’s family, let’s ask the Spirit to help us rejoice this evening and tomorrow at the birth of our salvation. At the feet of the manger Our Lord wants to continue to work salvation in us; let’s open our hearts to him.

Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1–5, 8b–12, 14a, 16; Psalm 89:2–5, 27, 29; Luke 1:67–79.