I have become very tuned to the Holy Spirit in my life and can sense its presence around me to guide my every step; my every thought. And so it was yesterday that my sibling’s and I were texting each other back and forth sharing memories of my mother’s dad – Francis Jacob Jerome Hilbert – the man I was named after at birth and of my father, Jacob Walter Anthony Dorhauer, Jr. and it flooded my thoughts with great memories of 2 of the most beautiful men in my life. My grandfather (who was truly a Bud man) and my father (who was truly NOT). Little did I know that that conversation yesterday would lead into to today’s readings and from today’s readings to Bishop Barren’s Advent reflection this morning.
Here is Bishop Barren’s reflection on the Gospel this morning…
Friends, our Gospel today is from the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, which is thoroughly drenched in Davidic themes from the Old Testament.
The first thing we hear about Zechariah is that he serves as priest in the Jerusalem temple; and David’s dream was to build the temple in which Zechariah serves. While in the sanctuary, Zechariah is visited by the angel Gabriel; and the temple locale and the announcement of the birth of a child against all expectations brings us back to Hannah’s pregnancy, which resulted in the birth of the forerunner to David. Indeed, Elizabeth’s words upon conceiving—“So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others”—powerfully evoke Hannah’s frame of mind when she, after many tears and much prayer, finally became pregnant.
What does this have to do with the life of Jesus? From beginning to end of his preaching career, Jesus’ central theme was the arrival of the kingdom of God, which was understood to mean the ingathering of the scattered tribes of Israel. And what becomes eminently clear in all of the Gospels is that this coming together would happen in and through Jesus himself, much as the knitting together of ancient Israel happened in the person of David. Jesus definitively fulfills what David himself left incomplete and unfinished.
You’re probably asking in the back of you mind – how does this tie into my relationship with the Holy Spirit? It was the question Bishop Barren asked us to reflect on this morning that I realized how yesterday’s conversation with my family opened my thoughts for today’s reflection…a path that the Holy Spirit guided me on. Here is the question to reflect on…
Reflect: In his wisdom and power, God arranged for certain people to aid in the mission of his Son (e.g., the birth of John the Baptist from a barren mother and the sinlessness of Jesus’ mother, Mary). Who has God put in your life to help you fulfill the mission he has entrusted to you?
God has placed many people in my life who have helped me fulfill my mission He has entrusted me to, but none more important to me that my Dad. My Dad was the perfect example for me growing up on what it was to be a family man. He loved his family deeply and loved my mother more than that. He was a strong man, a quiet man when it came to religion and politics, an athletic man who excelled in many sports – basketball, cork ball and golf just to name a few. Much like Samson and John – who were both mentioned in today’s readings – he was a man who took neither wine or strong drink. His favorite adult beverage was a “Mississippi High-Ball” – a glass of ice water. He did like his rootbeer and orange (Whistle Orange) soda though. Dad worked his tail end off most of his life, working multiple jobs during my youth so Mom could stay home with us and not have to have a job outside the house. Every Sunday morning, after going to the early Mass, he would come home and make breakfast for everyone in the house. He raised 7 children and put us all through Catholic schools from 1st grade through 12th grade. In the early 80’s, he applied for and entered the Permanent Deaconate program for the Archdiocese and was ordained in 1986 (I believe). It was such a blessing for me that the man who showed me how to be a true family man – a man dedicated to his wife and children – was able to marry my wife and I – Sarah and I were his first wedding as a Permanent Deacon.. And as much as he loved his children and wife, he loved his grandchildren more. It was a proud moment, albeit an embarrassing one at times, when someone in a restaurant would casually ask Dad if he had any grandchildren…and the wallet would come out and the pictures where shown. My dad did have some short comings – there were times when he spoke, he would make a sailor blush; he wasn’t much for braking in the car until he couldn’t see the bumper of the car in front of him; he also wasn’t one who would go to the Doctor very often. When he got sick at the end, it was very quickly moving cancer that started in one area and quickly spread throughout his body.
My Dad was truly the most influential man in my life, so when Bishop Barren posed the reflection this morning, I knew exactly why my family and I were texting about him yesterday – it was the Holy Spirit prepping me for this morning.
Do something great for our Lord today – spend some time in thought about your Dad. I hope and pray they are good memories such as mine. I often talk about being that window through which people can see Christ. My dad was that window for me…when I think of him, when I see him in my thoughts and memories, it is not him that I’m looking but Christ living through him. I love that man.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.
He must increase; I must decrease.
Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.
But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.