Rom 4:20-25; Lk 1:69-75; Lk 12:13-21
Today’s responsorial is not from the Book of Psalms, but it is from the prophecy of Zachariah, the father of Saint John the Baptist. This Canticle is full of the enthusiasm of the psalms, and the joy of salvation. Zachariah is jubilant because he is liberated from being mute. He could not speak from the conception of his son because of his less than faith-filled response to the Archangel’s message, and now at the circumcision of his son, his tongue is loosened. Zachariah rejoices in the LORD’s faithful love and mercy, “…he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us.” Again he exalts to sing, “…to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship him without fear…” Twice our father in the faith, Zachariah proclaims that his enemy, doubt, has been defeated. Indeed, our real enemies are not flesh and blood as Saint Paul teaches us, but those of the spirit—doubt, anger, lust, hate, envy, avarice, and greed. Those who pray with the church each day use this canticle to begin the day and to end Morning Prayer. Each day, we delight in the LORD who has raised up for us a mighty savior. Each day, we personalize the prophecy. We begin each day in the confidence of those whose enemies have been shattered, scattered, and subjected forever. Saint Paul taught his church in Rome to personalize the faith of their Father in Faith, Abraham. The Lord Jesus teaches his followers to be more concerned with what the Father treasures and not with what the world treasures.
Unlike Zachariah, our father Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief. He did not doubt that the LORD would make him the father of many descendants even if it meant raising his son Isaac from the dead. Abraham becomes a model of faith because he gave glory to God, and he was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was also able to do. As Saint Paul explains, “That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.” We too share in the same lack of doubt when we believe that the death of the Son of God was for our salvation and his resurrection was for our justification. We are fully convinced that the God who raised up his Son will also raise us up through him with him and in him. We have no fear of death or of anyone who threatens us with death of any sort, rejection, suffering, or persecution. We rejoice every morning in the God who has raised up for us a mighty savior, Jesus Christ the LORD.
Someone in the crowd was stuck on the inheritance his brother did not want to share with him. This protestor not only demanded that his brother be fair; he also demanded that Jesus take his side and force the situation. The Lord Jesus uses this as a teachable moment for the crowd, and his teaching is simple, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” The man in the crowd may or may not have been greedy, however he was clearly attached to the things of this world. Such things only last for a little while and then you die. As his parable illustrates, the good things of this world enable us to rest, eat, drink and be merry. However, when we are called to judgment before God, what will matter then is not our success or our possessions. What will matter then is what is important to God, things of the spirit like, faith, peace, love, joy, forgiveness, generosity, kindness, and purity. These are the things to which we must be attached. Then and only then will we be free from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us.