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Doctrines & Morals

Your ways, O Lord, make known to me

Mal. 3:1-4.23-24, Lk. 1:57-66. Today's first reading contains a promise of the sending of a messenger before the coming of the Messiah: “Suddenly, there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek.” The prophet Malachi referred to the messenger as Elijah, the prophet of old who did not die, but was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire. This messenger fits the figure of John the Baptist who challenges people to turn their lives around and return to God so that they will be ready for the Messiah. God knows we are human and frail and will stray from what we know we should be doing. He sends prophets as reminders, to tell us to be ready. We need these reminders and the entreaty as the Psalmist challenges us: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths.” It was the same Spirit of the living God that directed Elizabeth in the naming of John the Baptist.

In today's Gospel, the relatives and neighbours expected Zechariah and Elizabeth to follow convention practice by naming their new-born child after his father. However, Zechariah and Elizabeth knew that this was not the name that God wanted the child to have. At this particular moment in history, God was not following convention practice, but was about to do something new. Zechariah and Elizabeth’s child would be different from other children. The relatives and neighbours were right to ask the question: “What will this child turn out to be?” This child’s calling was to prepare people for the coming of someone who would be even greater than himself, someone whose name would be Emmanuel, "God-with-us." God works in new ways; God is always in the process of making a new covenant with us. It is this new and wonderful moment in God’s dealings with humanity that we celebrate at Christmas and it should never cease to fill us with excitement and gratitude.

May the Lord increase our faith in a world weighed down by unbelief, to be models of the graciousness of God like John the Baptist! Amen!! Good morning, It is well with you!!!

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