The Canticle of Zechariah

Luke 1: 67-79
2 Sm 7:1-5.8-11.16 / Ps 89:2-5,27,29

He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David.
(Luke 1:69)

Be of good cheer, He is coming,
Christ, the Horn of our salvation!
A peaceful year He is bringing,
The prize for our preparation.

Zechariah prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for He has visited and brought redemption to His people. He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David His servant, even as He promised through the mouths of His prophets from of old: salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to show mercy to our fathers, and to be mindful of His holy covenant, and to the oath He swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that, rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship Him in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1: 67-79)

Reflection

Wow! That was quite a mouthful, considering that Zechariah had been silenced for a long period of time. Right after he wrote on a tablet “His name is John”, his mouth was opened, and his tongue was freed, and he started to praise God (v.64). For nine months he had been rendered deaf and dumb (v.62) as a result of his lack of faith that he and his wife, now well beyond bearing age, would be the parents of John the Baptist, as the Angel Gabriel had declared. But Zechariah’s 9-month “incarceration” in a prison of silence served a greater purpose: to be able to meditate deeply on Scriptures, and then filled with the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the beautiful canticle that has become the Gospel for today for our reflection on the eve of our Savior’s birthday.

Today, many of us have finally ended the nine-day novena of waking up very early in the morning to attend the Misa de Gallo. This novena has been quite a big sacrifice for most of us, considering the holiday night-outs that we had to forego in order to prepare ourselves for the coming of our Savior. But this sacrifice was nothing if we compare it to the 9-month period that Zechariah had to endure, living in total silence to fully comprehend God’s plan of salvation and his son’s participation in it.

Just as Zechariah’s long period of silence was a prelude to a great event, it is hoped that our novena of going to the Lord’s Eucharistic celebration before dawn for nine consecutive days would also be the perfect preparation for the coming of the “Horn of our salvation,” Jesus Christ. He is the “daybreak from on high” Who is now living in our hearts, so that we too may “shine on those who sit in darkness” and be guided in the path of peace. May His peace reign in our land now and in the coming year!

We thank You, Father God, for the hope of salvation that we have acquired through Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, Whose coming we greatly anticipate and celebrate. Grant us Your grace to be worthy to welcome Him into our hearts. Amen.

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