Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Day of the Year 2016

Since the beginning of December 2016 everyone has been speaking about the new year 2017. A lot of preparations for Christmas and to welcome new year began with full enthusiasm and spirit. I heard many speaking about the year 2016 and the happenings and events that changed the life of the persons and people at large. The year has been mixed bag of experiences and developments. Many expected a different president in America but the choice of the people was Donald....many expected the year to be peaceful instead it was bloody in some part of the world. The people of Syria had to leave their homes due to the persecution and civil war....the problems in Europe due to the refugee crisis...the people who have come to Europe for a better life and the reactions of the people .......the many violent incidents and attacks in France, Germany and other parts of Europe made everyone to think of terriorists who are killing people in the name of religion. 
On the other hand, the Catholic Church had a very wonderful year, many saints were declared and received the place on the altar.,....many Bishops and Cardinals were created...Many priests all over the world were ordained either in the diocese or for the regilious congregations....many missionaries were sent to various parts of the year.....the year of Mercy was the hallmark of 2016....many people received mercy and many more turned to the Merciful God and began to live a new life in Christ Jesus.....the Holy Father Pope Francis made some overseas trips to encourage the Catholics to live their faith and commitment to Jesus.....The Church is now vibrant under his spiritual vibrant leadership......we continue praying for that the Church becomes the salt and light for the world.....

The Capuchin Order also had a wonderful and grace filled year....the number of Capuchin friars is steady and strong.....the Order is growing in Asia and Africa.....especially in India.....the numbers are shooting up....the Capuchin life is showing signs of revival in Europe and America.....the provincials and friars working together to promote the Capuchin Order....the Order celebrated great events in this year like the VIII PCO, the new provincials meeting, the various commissions meetings and the General council meeting the various conferences in Africa and India....these were the great celebrations of our brotherhood........The Church called many of our friars to serve the Church in capacity as Bishops too.....the missions are growing and still need young missionaries to carry forward the work of the Lord....
The General Curia fraternity is a place where everyone lives and works in peace and joy....the fraternal bonds have been very strong....the life goes on smoothly and everyone collaborates and cooperates to carry out the works for the Order.....we pray and hope that the fraternal climate remains the same.......
We wish all of you a very bright and wonderful year 2017....thanks to those who follow my blog every day.....i am trying to keep updated the works in the Curia and my work in India......
I have visited all the 14 circumscriptions and delegations and the last one is St. Fidelis Province....i have already started it and would finish by first week of March........
Next year we have about 8 provincial chapters in India.....please pray for us.....

Friday, December 30, 2016

Feast of Holy Family

 The Holy Family of Nazareth, Jesus, Mary and Joseph are put before us by the Church this weekend as a model for our families. We call them “The Holy Family” but that does not mean that they did not have problems. Just as every family has to face problems and overcome them, or to put it another way, has to carry a cross, so also The Holy Family had to carry crosses. Their many crosses come to mind as we read the Scriptures.

 What kept The Holy Family together and sane throughout all of these trials and crosses? The answer is ‘Love for each other and God’. Jesus’ love for Mary and Mary’s love for Jesus, and the love of both of them for God the Father. We can see Jesus’ love for his mother when he was dying on the cross and was worried about leaving her behind so he asked his close friend and disciple John to look after her, saying to Mary, ‘Woman behold your son’, and to John ‘behold your mother’ (John 19:26-27). What holds our families together also in times of difficulty is love and forgiveness. It is love which triumphs in the end, even if for a while love may have to take the form of some honest talking. When discipline needs to be given, if it is not given in love it is reduced to abuse. If ever our families fail in any way, it is because of a lack of love on someone’s part. Whenever our families are successful, it is because they are places of love.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mary, Mother of God....Let us begin the Year 2017 with the Love of Mother Mary to be loving all through the Year

[Numb. 6:22-27; Gal. 4:4-7; Lk. 2:16-21]
After the Earthquake had subsided, when the rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman's house, they saw her dead body through the cracks. But her pose was somehow strange that she knelt on her knees like a person was worshiping; her body was leaning forward and her
two hands were supporting an object. The collapsed house had crashed her back and her head.
With many difficulties, the leader of the rescuer team put his hand through a narrow gap on the wall to reach the woman's body. He was hoping that this woman could still be alive. However, the cold and stiff body told him that she had passed away. He and the rest of the team left this house and went to search the next collapsed building.

For some reasons, the team leader was driven by a compelling force to go back to the ruin house of the dead woman. Again, he knelt down and used his hand through the narrow cracks to search the little space under the dead body.

Suddenly, he screamed, "A child! There is a child!"
The whole team worked together, carefully they removed the piles of ruined objects around the dead woman. There was a 3 months old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mother's dead body. Obviously, the woman had made an ultimate sacrifice to save her son. When her house was falling, she used her body to make a cover to protect her son.

Today we celebrate the sacrifice of a teenager to submit herself to the plan of God to be the mother all human race. Mary is called "Theotokos", or "God-Bearer". The word in Greek "Theotokos" was used as part of the popular piety of the early first millennium church.

Mary submitted completely to God's will. When Mary was only a teen-ager, she was confronted with the challenge to be completely submitted to God's will. When Gabriel gave her the angelic message that she was to carry the Christ, Mary was stunned. Yet her response was "I am the Lord's servant. May it be done to be according to your word." From that moment Mary never wavered from her complete submission to God's will. She was nervous. She was unsure of her own abilities. She was anxious about the prophecy. But Mary was there at the Incarnation, Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of God Incarnate. She was there throughout the "hidden years" in Nazareth. In the life of the Redeemer.
Mary was like any parent here. She wanted only the best for her child. So she fled with her son to Egypt. She came back and lived silently in Nazareth. She worked with Joseph to provide the best for her son. Through out her life she was fully aware that life happens, and not all of life is pleasant. She was fully aware of her limitations. But she never allowed any of the personal things to be a hindrance to provide the best for her son and to be with him at every crucial point of his life.

Dr. Benjamin Carson, renowned surgeon at Johns Hopkins, tells a moving story about his mother. Mrs. Carson insisted that Ben and his brother Curtis write a book report every couple of weeks. This wasn't for school - this was for their mom. Ben and Curtis dutifully obeyed.
About the time he was in junior high, Ben finally realized something quite shocking. His mom couldn't read. For years Ben had read books and scratched out reports, assuming that his mom was checking every word. But she didn't have a clue what he was saying.
Ben grew up to be a world-famous surgeon and was the author of several books. Though she was illiterate she gave her boys what she had - interest, accountability, and the courage to work hard.
As a mother called by God she never relinquished the title. She stood by him till the foot of the cross. The truth of Simeon's prophecy at the birth of Jesus came true. The cross cut deeply into Mary's heart. She crumpled at the cross. She fell down to the depths there, moaning and wailing and begging the God of heaven to protect her son.
You'll find mothers like that in the halls of children's hospitals, in funeral homes and in the counselors' offices. Mothers never relinquish the title, even if the child is disabled, rebellious, harsh, or cruel. Her heart just will not allow it. Not when she is called by God. We should recognize and honour all our mothers for the sacrifice they make in their life.
Today it is January 1st. Another day and another year has begun. With all the news in the media during the past year on riots, wars and natural disasters, many must have thought that they would never see the arrival of this year. But the dawn of the New Year offers us Hope in the darkness of the chaos in the world. God promises a future filled with hope. The life and example of Mary should inspire us to keep our hopes alive and live optimistically.
"May God fill you with joy and peace in this new year.

Let us pray for the Innocent and Suffering Children in War

After the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you for Herod will soon be looking for the child in order to kill him.”

Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. In this way, what the Lord had said through the prophet was fulfilled: I called my son out of Egypt.

When Herod found out that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighborhood who were two years old or under. This was done in line with what he had learned from the wise men about the time when the star appeared.

In this, what the prophet Jeremiah had said was fulfilled: A cry is heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation: Rachel weeps for her children. She refuses to be comforted, for they are no more.


The Church celebrates the memory of the young male children in Bethlehem and its neighborhood aged two or under whom Herod ordered killed in his attempt to kill the young child whom the wise men from the east had come to recognize and adore. The Church celebrates them as among the very first martyrs for the Lord.

They have been followed by a great host of martyrs for their Christian faith and love of Christ and defense of Christian values, many formally canonized as saints and blessed. Surely many more, though not declared as saints or blessed, have given their lives in defense of the faith and of Christian values.

The two Filipinos canonized as saints, Sts. Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila (d 1630) and Pedro Calungsod (1654 – 1672) were martyrs for the faith, one martyred in Japan and the other in Guam.

As Jesus said at the Beatitudes, “Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are my followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God. This is how this people persecuted the prophets who lived before you.” (Mt 5: 11 -12)

We pray the Opening Prayer at Mass for the Feast of the Holy Innocents, “O God, whom the Holy Innocents confessed and proclaimed on this day, not by speaking but by dying, grant, we pray, that the faith in you which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Oh, Christmas Oh Christmas......Day....

Celebrate Christmas every Day

I found this article in national catholic Register
(1) “We desire to be able to welcome Jesus at Christmas-time, not in a cold manger of our heart, but in a heart full of love and humility, a heart so pure, so immaculate, so warm with love for one another,” said St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Mother Teresa, the beloved icon of charity, understood that Christmas is a time to relish in the beauty of love – not just the endless clamor of “stuff.” It is also a time to focus on intimate matters of the heart and do some deep “soul-searching.” The Advent and Christmas seasons are times when God shines tremendous rays of mercy and grace upon His people, and we don't want to miss out!

2) “Christ is born, so that by His birth He might restore your nature,” St. Peter Chrysologus said. Most of us are painfully aware of our limitations and weaknesses on a daily basis. At Christmas-time, we can be filled with hope of the restoration promised to us by Christ. What a joy!

(3) “During the whole Christmas period our eyes will rejoice at the mystery of the Holy Family, just as children rejoice when they look at the crib, recognizing in it a kind of prototype of their own family, the family within which they came into the world,” Pope St. John Paul II said. This insightful quote, so telling of this great Pope's wise and meditative nature, reminds us to be in wonder at Christmas. Yes, Christmas-time is meant to call us to be an awe-struck people, fascinated by the charm of Emmanuel – the God who became one entirely with the “dust of the earth,” with the people He bought by shedding His own blood. What a gorgeous challenge to tackle...why wait until next year to take it on?

(4) "All days from the treasure of this bright day gain blessings... Great is this day above all days, for in it came forth mercy for sinners. A medicine chest is Your great day, because on it shone for the Medicine of life to the wounded. A treasure of helpful graces is this day, because on it, Light gleamed forth on our blindness," St. Ephraem the Syrian said. Thinking of Christmas as a balm for one's wounds is beautiful! Christmas can bring healing to the lost sinner, the sad and lonely one, or the broken heart in ways that no other feast can. This Christmas, let us bring Him our sorrows and our hurts.
5) "For me, Christmas has always been about this: Contemplating the visit of God to His people,” Pope Francis said. Christmas just has a way of calling us to a more authentic spiritual life – at least for time. Even inactive Catholics who do not normally go to Mass feel an urge to spend Christmas with the Christ Child in the Eucharist, and make it to a Christmas service somehow. It truly is the “night of miracles,” a feast that calls upon us to see the living mercy of God-made-man, so radiant, so impossible to miss.

(6) “In this night of reconciliation, let none be angry or gloomy. In this night that stills everything, let nothing threaten or disturb. This night belongs to the sweet One; let nothing bitter or harsh be in it. In this night that belongs to the meek One, let there be nothing high or haughty. In this day of pardoning, let us not exact punishments for trespasses. In this day of gladness, let us not spread sadness,” St. Ephraem the Syrian said. As we celebrate the full Octave of the Feast of Christmas, we have plenty of time to examine our consciences. Is there anyone who needs our forgiveness? Are there any grudges we have been nursing, or any revenge we have been seeking? Christmas is the feast of forgiveness because it is the celebration of the birth of the king of all mercy, who lives and reigns forever!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Paul Harvey tells the story about a family on Christmas Eve. Mother and children went to the Christmas Eve service, and the Father stayed home. Suddenly, he heard tapping on the window. It was a bird flying against the glass of his window trying to get out of the snow into the warmth

of his home. The man had compassion on the bird, and he went outside, hoping to bring it in.
As he approached the bird, the bird just flew against the window even harder. Pretty soon, the bird flew into the bushes below the window, half frozen, yet too afraid to be caught by this huge man. The more he tried to reach for the bird, the more the bird flew frantically into the snow and thorns of the bushes.
After a few minutes in the cold and seeing the bird continue to injure itself, the man yelled out in frustration, "Stupid bird, can't you understand that I'm trying to help?" The man paused and thought, "If only you understood you wouldn't fly away … if only … if only I could become a bird, and get you to understand."
God's Son came in human form that we might understand God's plan for us, that we might understand from where we have come, that we might understand how we could be restored to God.
Today we meet God in his humanity. The Angel announced to the shepherds that you will see a baby." "A baby." That's all the Greek says. The word means "an infant" or a "newborn child." It is a totally ordinary word used to describe the birth of a child. This tells us that Christ came into the world just as we all do. This is the central truth of Christianity. God has entered human history in order to provide for our salvation.
Today we meet God in his helplessness. The Angel informed the shepherds that "you will see a baby  wrapped in cloths." In those days newborn babies were wrapped in strips of cloth to protect them from the harsh weather. Looking at the baby this way, no one can say he came only for the rich and powerful. And no one can say that he used his heavenly prerogatives to make an easy entrance into the world. He came not for the faith of a few but to be the Savior of all. He was bound that we might be set free.
Today we meet God in his humility. The angel  gave a sign to the shepherds that "you will see a baby lying in a manger." The word itself means something like a stable or perhaps a feeding-trough. In the first century, stables were often nothing more than a circle of stones around a hollowed-out cave in the side of a hill. Nothing about the baby Jesus appeared supernatural. There were no halos, no angels visible, and no choirs singing. Nothing about the outward circumstances pointed to God.
We know the story of Christmas. We know about Mary and the angel Gabriel. We know about the dangerous journey to Bethlehem. We know about Caesar's decree. We know about Herod's insane jealousy. We know about the inn with a "No Vacancy" sign. We know about the angels and the shepherds. We know about the mysterious Wise Men from the east. We know about the flight into Egypt. All of these stories are so well known to us. But we do not recall the time that God has taken to prepare man to accept God in a humble helpless child.
From the very beginning of time God promised to send His Son. Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden, God promised that one day the Seed of the Woman would crush the head of the Serpent, who is Satan (Genesis 3:15). Adam and Eve didn't know and couldn't have known but that phrase "Seed of the Woman" was a direct prediction of the coming of Christ. Centuries later God promised Abraham that he would have a son and that through his son and his descendants all the earth would be blessed. Several generations later the promise was made more specific, that a scepter would arise in Judah, meaning that Christ would be born of the tribe of Judah. Hundreds of years later God promised David that one day he would have a son to sit on his throne whose reign would be everlasting. Thus, the promise narrows from Adam to Abraham to the tribe of Judah to the house of David. Still later the prophet Micah declared that Messiah would be born in the little village of Bethlehem . Finally, Daniel was given divine insight into the exact time frame when Christ would come to the earth. All of that was written in the Old Testament, and The Jews knew this, and it created within them a great desire, a hope and dream that one day the Messiah would come.
The Old Testament comes to an end with the prophet Malachi who lived approximately 433 years before the coming of Christ. We call the period following his ministry the "400 Silent Years." We call them "silent years" because no prophet arose to speak for God and no Scripture was being written. The heavens became silent almost as if God had forgotten his promises.
But this time had had its silent preparation. It was a time of International Peace. The great  Roman Peace was in force which meant that the whole Mediterranean world was united under one government.
It was a time of religious ferment. Across Roman empire the mystery religions were in decline. And Judaism was ripe for the Messiah to come. During those 400 "silent years" the Jews had migrated to every corner of the ancient world. Judaism flourished as the Jews built synagogues wherever they went. By the time Jesus was born there were Jews at every level of society in the Roman Empire. And many Gentiles knew of the God of Israel.
It was an era of moral decline. Athens was in the late afternoon of its glory. The gods of Greece and Rome no longer could command the blind allegiance of the masses. Education, philosophy and great art  created desires they could not fill. In the end the verdict was clear. Athens could produce great philosophers like  Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides, and Aristophanes. Rome could produced great Statesmen like Seneca, Cicero, Juvenal, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Julius Caesar. But the best man could do was not enough. Nothing could fill the "God-shaped vacuum" inside the human heart. Historians tell us that in the centuries preceding the coming of Christ there was a feeling of unrest, and an undefined expectation of something about to happen.
Into this world God sent his son silently.
In his carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem," Phillips Brooks has a stanza that is a delight at this point:
How silently, how silently
the wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven! 
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still
the dear Christ enters in.
May that be our experience this Christmas season.
When Pope Julius I authorized December 25 to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in A.D. 353, no one would have ever thought that it would become what it is today. When Professor Charles Follen lit candles on the first Christmas tree in America in 1832, No one would have ever thought that the decorations would become as elaborate as they are today. Today Christmas has crossed all oceans and reached all continents.
It cost Mary and Joseph the comforts of home during a long period of exile in Egypt to protect the little babe. It cost mothers, in and around Bethlehem, the massacre of their babies by the cruel order of Herod. It cost the shepherds the complacency of their shepherd's life, with the call to the manger and to tell the good news. It cost the wise men a long journey and expensive gifts and changed lives. It cost the early Apostles and the early church persecution and sometimes death. It cost missionaries of Christ untold suffering and privation to spread the Good News. It cost Christian martyrs in all ages their lives for Christ's sake. More than all this, it cost God the Father His own Son. He sent Him to the earth to save men. It cost Jesus a life of sacrifice and service, a death cruel and unmatched in history.
So our Christmas gifts should go beyond the usual things. Mend a quarrel. Dismiss suspicion. Forgive someone who has treated you wrong. Turn away wrath. Visit someone who is suffering. Apologize if you were wrong. Be kind to those with whom you work. Give as God gave to you in Christ, without obligation, or announcement, or reservation, or hypocrisy.

Wish you all the peace of Infant Jesus.


Friday, December 23, 2016

The Poor always have time for the Lord....

A priest who visited Kenya last month returned with one thought that the poor always have time for the Lord. He said that the Churches are packed with people who have nothing but always dedicate time for the Lord.....wherever he went he encountered a lot of people who with great faith love the Lord......and give their precisous time.....
 During this season, we must have the same thoughts and aspirations as King David who wanted to build a house for Yahweh.  Our love for Christ should impel us to aspire for a more fitting dwelling place for our Savior who came into our world without the pomp and pageantry that usually accompany an earthly king.  Although he could have summoned a host of angels to pay homage to him, he chose to be born on a manger, attended to by poor shepherds.  Although he is the King of kings, he came in unannounced and in very poor conditions.  Therefore more than any earthly dwelling we can offer to God, we can be the temple of his Spirit provided we make ourselves holy and a fitting abode for our God.

The Canticle of Zechariah is a hymn of praise for the salvation that was to come through the Messiah.  While Zechariah must have been thinking about God’s promises to the nation of Israel to deliver her from her enemies, God’s mission for the Messiah was a bit different.  The coming of Jesus was God’s gift to save us from the bondage of sin and not from any temporal power.  Jesus brought with him a power of salvation to save us from the power of Satan.  He came into the world bearing with him the fullness of God’s grace, mercy and love.  Surely there is every reason to exalt him as Zechariah did and make a promise to “serve him in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.”  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The age of Twitter and Face book!!!!

I am active on the twitter and Face book since for some times and i enjoy every bit of it. It connects me with people and friends whom i know and I don't know. I get to hear, see and read about these lovely people out there. I interact through digital way and share experiences of life and even go to the past to remember some beautiful moments. I feel close to them and feel confident to share with them, But for sometimes now i have been thinking and reflecting about the time and energy i spent to get connected and communicate with these lovely people out there, who are not close to me but miles and miles away. I have realised that sometimes it brings anxiety and emotional disturbances too. It has been also moments of growth too. To give one example of my college days in Mumbai. I had a circle of friends from different religions and spent a lot of time together. They all knew that i was a seminarian and was preparing to be a priest. These friends of mine accepted and treated me with respect and honour. Never ever they spoke or said something that was vulgar or in bad taste. i was just wondering how could these guys have so much respect for me. Over the years i forgot all about them and their importance in my life. They really helped me to grow and have a positive outlook towards life. In the college they did protect me, like we watched films which were good ones, visited places and restaurant which were safe places to be in. They even spent money for me. 

One of these guys met me recently on the facebook and he reminded me of those beautiful days in the college. I began to shed tears of joy and got back into the past experiences. How stupid i had been to forget these lovely human beings in my life. it was the social media that connected me to them. They are all married and doing well for themselves. Some of them are setteled abroad and most of them in or two have been dead too.....but the thought of all these guys filled up my mind with sweet memories of the i am connected to them but they are not physically close to me.......i am now wondering whether is it ok to get connected to them and be in communication most of the time while neglecting those with whom i live presently and who are physically close to me. I can share with these friends but sometimes find difficult to share with those living with me. I cannot listen or be with them when they need. I forget their moments of joy and celebration but i remember those who are far away from me.....
I think it is good to be in communicatation with those who are close and live with you.....listen and share experiences with them....this doesn't mean we should neglect friends outside.....

Five days to Christmas......the Christmas spirit is in the Air.....Angels and Carollers announcing sweetly

 This morning i was in the Vatican square.....lovely to see.....imposing square.....
 From the 1st Reading: Is 7: 13 - 14
Then Isaiah said, “Now listen, descendants of David. Have you not been satisfied trying the patience of people, that you also try the patience of my God?  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin is with child and bears a son and calls his name Immanuel.

From the Gospel Reading: Lk 1: 28 – 35, 38a
The angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. 

But the angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you.  You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall call him Jesus. He will be great and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever and his reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be if I am a virgin?”  And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the holy child to be born shall be called Son of God. . . .”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” 

The time between the prophet Isaiah and Jesus was about 700 years.  That means that roughly 700 years passed for Isaiah's prophecy in our first reading to be fulfilled as narrated in today's Gospel.  

Even earlier at the dawn of human history God had told the serpent after the fall of Adam and Eve, “I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring.  He will crush your head and you will strike his heel” (Gn 3: 15) God’s promises to mankind are fulfilled in the history of mankind.  

In our own time we await Jesus' second coming: no one knows when.  

As we approach the joyful season of Christmas – our commemoration of the fulfilment of God's promise to be with us – let us recall two areas in our lives, namely, God's gifts to us in our lives, and our wishes and expectations in the future.  

Another way of thinking about this is recalling our many blessings from the past and having some awareness of our greatest expectations for the future. How was God faithful to us in our lives?  What else do we want from God?   Do we sometimes find ourselves impatient with God's response to our needs and expectations?

While we trust that God will fulfill his promises, today’s reading on the Annunciation tells us that the fulfillment of God’s promises needs man’s cooperation:  the incarnation of God’s Son would not have happened without the generous “fiat” of Mary.  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Let us prepare and wait for the Lord and Saviour as Mother Mary

From the Gospel Reading: Lk 1: 5 - 25
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah, belonging to the priestly clan of Abiah. Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, also belonged to a priestly family. Both of them were upright in the eyes of God and lived blamelessly in accordance with all the laws and commands of the Lord, but they had no child. Elizabeth could not have any and now they were both very old.

Now, while Zechariah and those with him were fulfilling their office, it fell to him by lot, according to the custom of the priests, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. .  . . It was then that an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. . . .

But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah, be assured that your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall name him John. He will bring joy and gladness to you and many will rejoice at his birth.

“This son of yours will be great in the eyes of the Lord. Listen: he shall never drink wine or strong drink, but he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. Through him many of the people of Israel will turn to the Lord their God. He himself will open the way to the Lord with the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah; he will reconcile fathers and children, and lead the disobedient to wisdom and righteousness, in order to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I believe this? I am an old man and my wife is elderly, too.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel, who stands before God, and I am the one sent to speak to you and bring you this good news! My words will come true in their time. But you would not believe and now you will be silent and unable to speak until this has happened.” 

Meanwhile the people waited for Zechariah, and they were surprised that he delayed so long in the sanctuary. When he finally appeared, he could not speak to them and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He remained dumb and made signs to them.

When his time of service was completed, Zechariah returned home and some time later Elizabeth became pregnant. . . .

Have we ever experienced or heard of seemingly impossible events that occurred against all odds? Have we ever questioned how in the world this happened as there is no scientific explanation for it?  Just like Zechariah. It was hard for him to believe that his wife Elizabeth could still bear a child at her advanced age, even when the messenger was a messenger from God! 

Our doubts regarding God’s providence may hinder us from recognizing, appreciating His blessing and may not allow us to effect God’s plan for our life and for those that may be affected by our saying “No” to what He wants of us.  Let us open our eyes, ears, heart and mind to God’s voice through the Holy Spirit so that our will is aligned to God’s will and that God’s plan for us, and for others affected by our decision to follow Him, will come to fruition.