Luke 1:5-25 Blessed Are The Faithful
There was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God…but they had no child. …Once when he was serving as priest…the angel of the Lord appeared to him. …The angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.
Elizabeth and Zechariah were not blessed because their prayers were answered with a “yes”. They were blessed because they prayed faithfully, and God always hears the prayers of the faithful.
It is apparent from today’s Gospel passage that for years Elizabeth and Zechariah prayed for a child. It is also apparent that their request was denied. Yet, the couple remained steadfast to the Lord; faithful to God in all things, “observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord”.
Faithfulness always leads to blessedness. We do not become “blessed” when things end our way. We are “blessed” when things end God’s way. This is the true meaning of blessedness.
If you want to know if you are blessed, then first ask yourself if you are faithful.
Do not be afraid. There are three reasons why we sin: fear, ignorance and pride. But of these three, fear is the greatest cause of our sinfulness. Fear is the guillotine of blessedness. It stands in the way of faithfulness. Fear is capable of extinguishing every holy thought, every good intention, and every right decision. Fear paralyzes the holy one, reducing him to mediocrity. But if we can conquer our fears, then we open the gates of heaven and all heaven breaks loose! Heaven falls to earth! Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
For this reason, the angel pleaded with Zechariah, “Do not be afraid”.
Why? Why not be afraid? Because faithfulness produces what we all seek: joy and gladness, and not only for oneself but for others as well: “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.”
Fear changes nothing. Fidelity changes everything. Faithful people convert the hearts and minds of those around them: “He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God…and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous”.
The best that fear can do is to maintain the status quo.
The angel spoke these words to Zechariah. He could have spoken these words to all of us as well. Why? Because we experience the same fear today as Zechariah feared back then.
Speechless and unable to talk. What happens to those who are filled with fear? They remain speechless and unable to talk. Redemption ends with them. They stuff the Word of God in a box. If they manage to say a word, they say nothing. When they preach, they are not heard, for no one listens to a wishy-washy man. No one respects a wimp.
When the fearful see the world falling apart, they run and hide. When they are confronted with evil, they close their eyes and pretend.
The fearful have little to offer the Lord and to their fellow man. Fear is their one companion, and it has a noose around their neck.
In this final week of Advent, the angel of the Lord reminds us: Do not be afraid to do what is right. Do not be afraid to do what is good. Do not be afraid to do what is holy.
And you shall bring forth a Savior!
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