The Gospel reading from the Mass during the day for December 24 is Luke 1:67-79.

Following his miraculous encounter with the Archangel Gabriel in the Temple and his skepticism that his barren wife could become pregnant, the priest Zechariah is struck mute for nine months until the birth and naming of his son, John the Baptist. Upon the birth of his son, his confirmation of his son’s name and miraculous return of his voice, Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit and moved to prophesy.

Zechariah’s prophecy, called the Canticle (song) of Zechariah and The Benedictus (Latin for “blessed”), is a beautiful, poetic and truthful exclamation of the Salvation of Christ. Beginning with praise to God, similar to Our Lady’s Magnificat, Zechariah gives thanks to God for: presence and redemption of Israel, the fulfillment of prophecy given to Abraham and that David’s line would be the source of salvation, protection and triumph over Israel’s enemies and the gift of serving God without fear in righteousness.

Zechariah then turns to prophecy about John the Baptist and the coming salvation in Christ. Christ causes Zechariah to predict: John the Baptist will be Christ’s prophet (prophet of the Most High) to prepare His way, Christ will teach (give light) His people about the forgiveness of sins and guide them to His salvation and peace. All of Zechariah’s prophecies come to pass in Christ Jesus.

Awed by Jesus ChristPerson of the Trinity, Christ inspires prophets across the ages to proclaim His plan of Salvation. Son of God, Christ fulfills all His promises, including those revealed by Zechariah, through the Incarnation. Divine Mercy, Christ intercedes and forgives the sins of the repentant. Son of Mary, Christ inflames the heart of John the Baptist throughout his life, from the womb through John’s death by beheading. 

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) The Canticle of Zechariah is not only beautifully poetic and rich in Old Testament references but is also prophecy that comes to pass. Re-read verses 76-79 and be awed that Zechariah’s words are perfectly fulfilled in Christ Jesus. 

2) Sadly, Zechariah’s call for men to turn away from darkness goes unheeded, as the modern world plunges into all kinds of evil. During Advent, resolve to Turn Away from Darkness (CCC 1866, 457, 588, 1691, 1707) and pray for Christ to help turn away from the darkness of sin in your life. 

3) As in the time of Zechariah, the world is marred with anger and violence as men fight for power, control and to assert their ideologies. During Advent, reflect upon the Prince of Peace (CCC 260, 2302-2306) and ask Christ to help you to turn to His way of peace.