The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Excerpts from a homily given by a wise Jesuit priest during this Advent season:

Luke’s Gospel says that Zechariah was “righteous in the eyes of God,” as was his wife Elizabeth. Yet for all his faithful observance of God’s commandments, the prayers closest to his heart went unanswered. This may be something we share in common with this priest. Zechariah would pray, “Lord, send a child to Elizabeth!” “Lord, send us a son!”

Year in and year out, the same prayer, the same longing, the same desire. After a while, if we experience only God’s silence, what else can we do but keep praying, or else fall into a deep sleep of desolation. “Curse God and die” was what Job’s wife had told him as he sat in the ashes and contended with the Lord. But it was not like that with Elizabeth and Zechariah. Zechariah stayed with his prayer.

Then one day as he offers the same petition for the zillionth time, suddenly all heaven breaks loose, and there is Gabriel saying, “You prayer has been heard! Do not be afraid!”

Zechariah is unnerved. He says what anyone who has drunk deeply at the well of disappointment might say: “How can I be sure of this?”

And then silence. There are no more words from him. It is as though the angel’s message from God says to him, “It’s time for you to stop speaking, Zechariah. The time for prayers is over. The time for the fulfillment of God’s promise is begun. Just be quiet and pay attention. You don’t have to say anything more.”

There are lots of annunciations in Scripture. Whenever the wombs of mothers are closed or the land turns barren or the rivers dry up or the words of hope from priests and prophets seem finally to have withered away, it is then that God speaks. It is at the end of prayers - or even after prayers have been abandoned - that God has something to say. That is when babies are born, deserts bloom, rivers overflow their banks with living water, and hope is renewed.

If there is a lesson we can carry in this Advent season from the annunciation to Zechariah, it is this: prayer is not for the worldly-wise and sophisticated. Prayer is for those who recognize that in the face of their deepest longings, they are really quite helpless. Prayer is for those who are willing to persist in doing something that is both credulous and crucial.


Blogger rowie said...

I hope you don't mind if I link to you.

3:27 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog. I read your post with much interest since I've been praying for something for the past 20 years and have yet to have Jesus answer my prayer.

12:57 PM  

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