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Luke 1: 5-25

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.

With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.”

The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.” Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary.

He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

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Wondrous Love

Today’s readings offer vivid reminders that God does indeed watch over the human family. They describe the birth of Samson and the good news that Elizabeth and Zechariah will become parents of John the Baptist. Both Samson and John were mysteriously announced; each would carry forward a special mission for God’s people.

Do you suppose that God thought that each of us would make a wonderful difference? Could it be that the Lord is inviting us to carry forward a specific mission with the project of our lives?

Come, Lord Jesus, work wonders in our hearts and homes as you come anew to our waiting world!

—Damian Torres-Botello, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

O Flower of Jesse’s stem: you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples. Rulers stand silent in your presence, the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid!

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DAILY INSPIRATION

December 19, 2014

Scripture

Luke 1: 5-25

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him.

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.

With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.”

The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.” Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary.

He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Ignatian Reflection

Wondrous Love

Today’s readings offer vivid reminders that God does indeed watch over the human family. They describe the birth of Samson and the good news that Elizabeth and Zechariah will become parents of John the Baptist. Both Samson and John were mysteriously announced; each would carry forward a special mission for God’s people.

Do you suppose that God thought that each of us would make a wonderful difference? Could it be that the Lord is inviting us to carry forward a specific mission with the project of our lives?

Come, Lord Jesus, work wonders in our hearts and homes as you come anew to our waiting world!

—Damian Torres-Botello, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.


Prayer

O Flower of Jesse’s stem: you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples. Rulers stand silent in your presence, the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid!

DAILY EXAMEN

The Daily Examen is a prayer technique developed by St. Ignatius to help us reflect on the events of the day to discern God’s presence and direction. When Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus, he required the Jesuits to practice the Examen twice daily—at noon and at the end of the day. It’s a habit that Jesuits, and many other Christians, practice to this day.

The Examen structure presented below is adapted from a technique described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. Click here for more information from our partners in ministry at Loyola Press.

Daily Examen

1. Become aware of God’s presence

God, I believe that at this moment I am in your presence and you are loving me.

2. Review the day with gratitude

God, you know my needs better than I know them. Give me your light and your help to see how you have been with me, both yesterday and today.

3. Pay attention to your emotions

God, help me to be grateful for the moments when people have affirmed me and challenged me. Help me to see how I have responded, and whether I have been kind to others and open to growth.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it

God, forgive me for when I have not done my best or have failed to treat others well. Encourage me, guide me, and continue to bless me.

5. Look toward tomorrow

As I look to the remainder of this day, make me aware that you are with me. Show me how to be the person you want me to be.

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    When you submit your prayer request, our prayer team will personally reply to you. You may choose to have your prayer request and personal reply shared with others. Simply include the Email addresses of those you would like to inform about your prayer request, and we will notify them on your behalf.

    Please know that your prayer will be remembered at Mass, and in a special way by the Jesuit priests and brothers of Colombiere Center and Saint Camillus communities, who are missioned to pray for the Church and society.

    All fields are optional except for the prayer request. Please know we will only share your first name and complete prayer request with the priests and brothers. Your name and Email addresses will never be shared with anyone, nor will you receive any additional correspondence from us.

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