3rd Week of Advent (19th December, 2018)
First Reading: Jdg 13: 2-7, 24-25a (Birth of Samson)
Gospel: Lk 1: 5-25 (John the Baptist’s birth announced)
The concept of providence of God pervades the entire Bible. His providence to His people has always been reflected through Mary in various ways. Today we read an account of God’s providence for the family of Zachariah. The life of Zachariah and Elizabeth become a vivid example for God’s providence for His people. This family shows us also how one could receive favour or providence of God.
First of all, we know that providence and prayer are interconnected. They are so closely linked to each other that one cannot exist without the other. We know that Providence is the super intervention of God on earth. Prayer brings about God’s intervention. The Psalm 121: 1 says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From where comes my help? My help comes from the Lord”. This we see it throughout the Bible and especially in the life of Zachariah and Elizabeth too. The Gospel describes this couple as ‘righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord” (Lk 1: 6). True prayer is reflected not through what one says with one’s lips but how one lives. The Lord, thus, says of it clearly, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father ion heaven” (Mt 7: 21).
Thus, this couple stands as a good example for the one whose righteous life stood in harmonious relationship with the prayer, they had in their heart namely a gift of child and the Lord grants them this favour although they were advanced in years. We see, then, that prayer brings about providence of God despite any physical impediment or impossibility even. They led a prayerful life longing for God’s favour in their life as God fulfilled their hearts; yearning.
The second point we notice in God’s providence is that His providence is always for the growth of the Kingdom of God. God’s providence would actually make God’s plan come true for His purpose. It is not mere His favour to fulfil the need of any individual but for His glory and honour. Even in the resuscitation of Lazarus, Jesus would say that it was for the glory of God (Jn 11: 40). We know then that God’s kingdom is not identified with the geographical space here on earth but within the human beings (Lk 17: 20-21). God’s providence to Zachariah Elizabeth by bringing brought about John the Baptist to preach was done so that they might be the signs of the Kingdom of God, i.e., peace, joy and love. So, there is need of prayer which would enable us to receive His providence which in turn would usher His kingdom here on earth.
So, the lesson of Zachariah and Elizabeth teaches us is that many receives God God’s favour through prayer as for growth of His kingdom. Let us pray that we too may prepare for it and receipt through leading a prayerful life and with it may work for spreading of His kingdom. Amen.