Read Malachi 3:1-4,23-24, Ps. 25:4-5,8-9,10,14, Luke 1:57-66 

“He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God.” (Luke 1:63-64)

As much as Christmas can be a time for external enjoyment, it is also, and more importantly a time for inner purification. This is the message of Malachi in today’s first reading: “Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me… he is like a refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.”

To make our Christmas worthwhile, we need to enter the REFINERY OF EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE. It is not enough that we go for confession, it is important that we follow up with our resolutions afterward. Zachariah was helped by God to repent. He did not believe what the Angel told him and as a result, his lips were shut.

Zachariah’s nine-month silence gave him enough time for reflection – he basically entered a refinery of sorts. When his power of speech returned, Zachariah became a totally different person. He could now count his blessings. He realized that in all things, there was always the need to give thanks. Zachariah’s song of praises is very similar to the songs of Mary and Hannah.

Are you currently unhappy? Do you think life hasn’t treated you fairly? Was this year a tough one for you? Why not do a silent retreat. Put down the phone, shut down every media device, and try to remain quiet even if for a few hours. Silence does a lot of wonders for us.

Silence helps to refine our hearts. For instance, we tend to listen more when we are silent, we tend to hear more and understand life better, we get to see the bigger picture and we get to look beyond our immediate problems. If God forced Zachariah to be silent, how much more would we profit if we decide to embark on silence voluntarily.

The people wondered: “What will this child turn out to be?” This is a question that none of them could answer. As the saying goes: “No one knows tomorrow.” If we humans had the power to see the future of each child, I guess we would drop down on our knees and bow to these little ones. Respect children. They may appear noisy, unimportant, unserious, irresponsible, etc. but God who brought them to life has great plans for them. 

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, cleanse my heart and make me new. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (23 December. Bible Study: Malachi 3:1-4,23-24, Ps. 25:4-5,8-9,10,14, Luke 1:57-66)

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu