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Day 9:  December 24

Reflection on Lucas 1:67‑79

Vincent Ngo Hung, SVD


Have you ever praised those who have done something good for you, for your family or for your community? (Short pause). Yes, I think you do so. The reason why I raise the question at the beginning of the homily is due to the readings of today; the 9th day of Simbang Gabi, we have heard as a thankful praise of David and Zechariah to God who has done the marvelous things for them and the people of Israel. God is faithful to keep the promise to His people.

            Two readings of today teach us many things, but I would like to share with you two points:

            First, the Acceptance of Duty

In the first reading, David, was a king of a united country with Jerusalem as the capital, wants to build a house for God. But instead God promises to build an everlasting dynasty for him (David). When Jerusalem was destroyed, it seemed that the promise would not be fulfilled. Still, the hope remained that a Messiah would come from the house of David.

            Many people nowadays seek fulfillment and happiness through ‘doing their own thing’. They believe that happiness lies in having no commitments, no one to answer to, and no one whose needs or problems will ever tie us down. It is, of course, good and necessary to find and to do that which deep down we feel we are called to do. Nevertheless, human nature being what it is, we have to be on our guard. There can be a lot of selfishness in the ‘do your own thing’ approach. It often means taking the easiest path in the belief that this is where freedom and happiness lie. But this approach is more likely to lead to slavery and unhappiness.

            Here is an important truth: freedom, happiness, and fulfillment are more likely to be found in the acceptance of duty. It has to be a loving acceptance of duty. The more difficult task to which we devote ourselves out of love, the more it will exalt us. God exalts David to make his name great, to build him a house. It is sure that the reward is given to David because of his acceptance of duty.

            Life imposes a lot of duties on us. Besides duties to ourselves, there are duties to others, and duties to God. Where would the world be if everyone just thought of themselves, and insisted on doing their own thing, seeking their own freedom, happiness, and fulfillment independent of others and God? Those who accept duty will find happiness and fulfillment in the eyes of God who always accompanies and blesses them in life.

            The acceptance of duty leads to thanksgiving that we can find in the Gospel.


            Second, the Spirit of Thanksgiving

The Gospel is a thankful canticle of Zechariah to God who is faithful to keep promise and to do marvelous things to His people.

            The people of Israel had lived on God’s promise. First of a land, then of a salvation. This is not to say that they did not sometimes forget it in good times, and doubt it in the bad time. They knew a lot of bad times, the worst being the slavery in Egypt and the years of wandering in the desert. What sustained them during all those bad times was the belief that God would not abandon them or forget the promise He had made to them from their father Abraham: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for He has come and set us free, for He saved us from our enemies, for He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant.”

            The Christmas comes near to us, one of the great things that Advent does is to remind us of God’s faithful love for His people, and how His promise was fulfilled in Jesus. The Scripture readings during Advent are full of reminders of God’s fidelity. These messages of reassurance are also addressed to us. We too are living by God’s promise. A Christian is someone who is journeying in faith towards the promised land of eternal glory. What sustained the Christians is the belief that God is faithful to His word and true to His promise.

At Christmas we are filled with wonder at the nearness of God. In Jesus, God comes to us clothed in our humanity. Jesus reveals God as a loving, compassionate, faithful Father. A God who is not far away from us, but who lives among us, and who is compassionately interested in us. A God whose concern is not to judge and to condemn, but to heal and to save. A God who is especially close to the week, the poor, and the overburdened.

Indeed, God is faithful. God is true to His word. God keeps His promise. We sometimes make God’s fidelity conditional to our behavior. God comes because we are sinners that the sinners need salvation. In the wonderful words of the canticle, God comes to free us from our sins, and to deliver us from the power of evil. He comes to rid us of fear, and to enable us when we are in darkness and the shadow of death surround us. He comes to guide our feet into the way of peace.


            To sum up, dear Brothers and Sisters!  As you have known there are two important points to remember: the acceptance of Christian duty, then the spirit of thanksgiving. We should accept what given to us and do it with our deep responsibility. We are aware of our human weakness, what we have comes from God’s goodness and kindness, so we should give Him thanks and praise.

As Christians, we believe that God still does wonderful things for us. It may be happened through His people who are surrounding us. How much do we accept it as privilege and duty? May the grace of Child Jesus be in our hearts and our minds. Amen.