Guide me in Your truth and teach me. I’m not sure where exactly I heard this line I’m about to use, but I use this line quite often at work…”Well, I just learned something new today – time to head home.” Well, it’s going to be a short day today. After reading the Gospel this morning, one that I’ve read or heard read to me many, many times, I never knew of the family line of Elizabeth – other than the fact that Mary was her cousin. So after reading this and then Bishop Barren’s reflection on the Gospel, I learned that Elizabeth came from the line of Aaron – the first priest of Israel. Let me share Bishop Barren’s reflection for you…
Friends, today’s Gospel tells the story of the birth and naming of John the Baptist.
This story brings John’s parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, into focus. Both are strongly priestly personages. Elizabeth is a descendant of the family of Aaron, the first priest of Israel, and Zechariah was a practicing temple priest.
What’s important for our purposes is that John was of very priestly stock. He grew up in and around the temple, acquainted with its rituals. So why, when we first hear of him in his adult life, is he out in the desert and not in the temple?
The temple had been renovated, largely rebuilt, by Herod the Great. But Herod was a wicked man, as we know from the Gospels themselves and from lots of other ancient sources. He had effectively declared himself the Messiah of Israel.
John saw how corrupt all of this was, and he sensed that the true Messiah was on the horizon. So he went away from the old temple, and he continued to act as a priest, but as priest of a new Temple: Jesus himself, the new Holy of Holies.
Reflect: What does it mean to say that Jesus himself is the new Temple?
So, if your day was as short as mine (I hope they don’t miss me at work), rejoice in the fact that you learned something new…or if your like my wife, although your day will be longer (because I’m sure she knew this about Elizabeth), I hope it is filled with other things you find fulfilling and educational.
Do something great for our Lord today – get to the store man – there are only 2 days left until Christmas. Just a couple of quick notes here…Happy Birthday Cecilia (my 3rd child). Please say a prayer for a very dear friend of ours who lost who mother yesterday. May her soul – and the souls of all the just – through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
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.