Daily Reflection
December 19th, 2005

Roc O'Connor

Campus Ministry and Theology
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Judges 13:2-7, 24-25a
Psalm 71:3-4a, 5-6ab, 16-17
Luke 1:5-25

It’s finals week here at Creighton as I write this. So, in the midst of correcting lots of papers and exams, I am definitely “in a mood.”

I don’t mean to be impertinent, but I have a couple of questions about this gospel passage. The whole passage seems like a mishmash of miscommunication. It does turn out for the good finally, though. But, let’s just notice some things together, eh?

Gabriel announces to Zechariah, an old man with an elderly wife, that his prayers have been answered. First off, how many elderly folks do you know who pray for children? They all have these bumper stickers that say, “If I would have known how much fun grandchildren were, we would have had them FIRST!” So, I wonder why Zechariah didn’t say, “Look, where were you twenty years ago when we really were praying for a child? What took you so long?” What it looks like is that either Gabriel got delayed somehow by a couple of decades. Or, God misplaced the divine Planner for a few days and forgot to send Gabriel until this moment.

Next, why was Gabriel so upset at Zechariah’s words? Why did he make “Z” mute for nine months? He let Mary off the hook, didn’t he, when she asked him questions? I have never understood this part and I still don’t get it.

What sort of workman’s comp did the Temple have? I mean, this elderly priest goes mute and still has to finish out his days of ministry, for goodness’ sake! Couldn’t the Temple infirmary send him home with a note? “He can’t talk. He had a vision. Let him go home to his wife.” But, noooooo!

The final odd note that Luke strikes here has to do with Elizabeth’s reaction to this whole deal. She goes into seclusion and yet announces, “God has taken away her disgrace.” I would have thought that such a blessing would be cause for praise and festivity and celebration. Why hide like this?

Even though these are serious questions I have about the gospel passage, I really meant all this in a spirit of fun. Or, perhaps this reflects my mood as I write this in the midst of finals week!

So, finally, what this whole deal seems like to me is that God’s work in and through Mary was so theologically spectacular that even the precursor and his parents had to be taken off stage the moment they appear. Zechariah, Elizabeth, and John certainly are “players,” but not the main ones. God’s work prepares the Way and then offers the Gift.

In all this, that’s what I invite you to consider this Advent, how God prepares the Way and offers the Gift over and over again. Perhaps we might attend to this divine preparation in our lives and in our world so that we might both receive and give great thanks for the Gift we celebrate this Christmas 2005.

Happy Rest Of Advent.

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