December 19, 2022
Finally, after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we shall now have a “F2F” Christmas, which is what Christmas is all about – when the Son of God became human like us in everything except sin so that we may experience God himself, in flesh and blood so to speak.
I find our Gospel today so timely: Zechariah went home while his wife Elizabeth went into seclusion. They went into Advent preparation for their son John the Baptist. They both went into a “quarantine” but not for the same reason as we did two years ago: it was imposed on Zechariah while Elizabeth went into it voluntarily.
Zechariah was forced into silence in order to meditate and reflect more on the good news he had received from the angel. He was forced to go into silence to listen more to his true self, to others, and to God to find new perspectives in life.
On the other hand, Elizabeth seems to know better than her husband in dealing with their unusual situation by going into seclusion for five months. Observe how Elizabeth right away prayed to thank God as she meditated on His mystery of “taking away her disgrace before others”.
Here we find the concept of quarantine, of separation from the usual things and people because of a special mission from God. If we can appreciate the rich lessons we can learn from this pandemic, how wonderful to see that we are being quarantined like Elizabeth and Zechariah because God is preparing us for something greater.
Advent is the season that reminds us God comes to us hidden in our very time and space when we need to go to quarantine to create a space within us where we can be silent and be transformed as we listen more to ourselves, to others, and to God.
What happened to Zechariah could also be going on too many among us these days that even if we have been praying and celebrating the Mass weekly or even daily with all of our professed faith, hope, and love in God, we have also grown accustomed to the darkness of this pandemic with all its fears that unconsciously, we sully ourselves with many negativities, even cynicism and pessimism as if we would never make into better days.
In telling us the story of the coming of John first before Jesus Christ, Luke is telling us to be ready for greater things about to happen with us if we become silent, take a few steps backward, and rest in the Lord to experience his presence in us and among us.
How does this passage and reflection help you see that God and his purposes are good?