Tender Compassion

24 Dec

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.  (Lk 1:78-79)

Do you believe?  

That was the button and the phrase fashioned by the fictional Cole’s Department Store when they were defending their Santa Claus in a lunacy trial in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street.  People were being asked to state that they believed in Santa Claus.

Do you believe?

In a manner of speaking, that question was asked of Zechariah when an angel told him that he and his wife were going to have a son and name him John.  Zechariah laughed at the angel and the angel struck him mute until his son would be born.

In yesterday’s Gospel, we read that the day of John’s presentation had come about and the crowds wanted to know what to call him.  Elizabeth said his name was John but the priests would not give the child that name since he should have been named after his father.  Inquiring of Zechariah as to what to call the child, Zechariah wrote, “His name is John.”  When he did so, he was able to speak again.

Today’s Gospel is that beautiful canticle proclaimed by Zechariah when he was able to speak again.  The Church uses that gospel canticle every day at morning prayer.  Zechariah proclaimed the tender compassion our God had for us and how the dawn would soon break upon us so that we would be able to see our way to the Kingdom once again.

His son, John the Baptist, pointed the way to the Messiah, his cousin, Jesus Christ.  The gospel today points the way to tomorrow when we will celebrate the great fulfillment of a promise of hope, of peace, of joy, and of salvation.

As John would tell the people: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths!

Do you believe?

FAITH ACTION:  Christmas is tomorrow.  In these final hours, make sure to create time to reflect upon the great miracle of Christ’s birth and all the implications that birth has for you.