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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doubt As A Christian (Luke 1: 57-66) Homily

In the Gospel today there appears to be a message worthy of our reflection.

This reflection begins with The Father of John the Baptist, Zechariah. As we recall, the Angel of the Lord had appeared to Zechariah and informed him that his prayers had been heard.

The Angel stated that Elizabeth, his wife, would bear him a son, and that he would be happy and joyful.

The Angel reported that the son was to be named John, and he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb, and that many of the children of Israel would turn to the Lord because of John. But Zechariah responded to the angel by stating “How shall I Know? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” He basically told the Angel that he didn't believe him.

So upon hearing Zachariah's doubt, the Angel Gabriel stated that Zechariah would become speechless and unable to talk until the day these things were to take place.

How many of us have ever wondered if our prayers are actually heard by God?

And not unlike Zechariah, when there is evidence that God has indeed heard our prayers and responded to them, how many of us somewhat doubt that God had anything to do with it?

We often quickly dismiss the event as something related to chance, to luck, maybe a good break, or even due to something of our own accord.

Why is it so difficult to think that when we ask for help from God, that he listens, and then he responds.

Isn't it really that simple?

Or are we more like a doubting Thomas than we would want to admit. As humans, we have a tendency to doubt things at times, especially if we don't see it with our own eyes.

Even John the Baptist, that person who had become and is a model of such faith, courage, and conviction even showed this weakness later in life.

John the Baptist, while in prison sent some of his followers to Jesus and asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another? (Mt.11:3) In suffering he had forgotten the words that he had spoken on the Jordan River. “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn. 1:29)

In our time of weakness, we are no different than Zachariah, or John the Baptist We doubt the grace of God. We doubt the love of God. Nothing would satisfy us more than to have Jesus appear right in front of us to convince us that he is here, that his grace is with us, and that he loves us, but then we would not have faith, we would have proof.

In moments when we are tired or sick, Satan uses these opportunities to place doubtful thoughts in our minds. Those are the moments when we must persevere the most in our faith, those are the moments when we must pray for each other.

Faith is a gift, it cannot be earned, it cannot be bought, it is a gift from God. We should thank God for the gift of faith that he has given to us, and never cease to ask God for growth in our faith, in our trust, and in our understanding of who He is.

As you are quite aware, we are rapidly approaching The Feast of Christmas.

We will be celebrating the visitation of God to His people. However we must not forget, it is a visitation that He makes everyday, and he remains continually with us.

As incredible and glorious as The Feast of Christmas is that God would become incarnate for us and he would take on our flesh and come into this world as one of us, so that he would be able to save us from our sins, this is the mystery that we celebrate, in essence, every single day. He remains with us always.

As we begin to prepare to celebrate this great Feast of Christmas and the glorious mystery of the incarnation and the birth of Christ, we look into our own hearts and we ask our selves:

How strong is my faith, My belief in God?

What type of doubts do I carry with me?

How much of my life, lived out daily, conforms with my professed beliefs.

Can I see God's hand in the workings of my life?

Do I pray to God and then watch and listen for his response?

Am I living the mystery that I will celebrate on Christmas?

Am I prepared for Christmas? Spiritually!

Have I prepared within my heart; to be open to receive him into my life.

These are all questions that every Christian should make and seriously contemplate.

During the nine months of his wife's pregnancy, Zechariah had time to reflect upon all that God had done for him and to meditate upon the goodness and the mercy of the Lord who cast his gaze upon his family, with the result that one of his descendants would be the one to proclaim to all the People of God the coming of the messiah!

Zechariah had a special purpose in his life. And through God's grace fulfilled his special role.

John the Baptist, also, possessed a holy vocation that lead and prepared the path for our Lord.

Yet, we also are given a specific vocation, a calling, to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to make known who Christ is to the world.

We are to be joyful, caring, and compassionate people, whom others will know and recognize as Christians by the way we love each other. We are to develop our gifts and to utilize them for the Glory of God.

We are to cast away our doubts, to nourish our faith, to live a life free of anxiety and fear, and to know we are loved beyond our understanding by the source of all love.

And there is no doubt.....very soon it shall be Christmas, and we shall adore, praise, and thank God for the greatest gift of all time: The gift of God who became man - Jesus Christ.

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