Deacon Stu Dobson’s Homily – 12-23-22

Friday, December 23rd in the Octave before Christmas. 
Mal 3:1-4, 23-24; Ps 25:4-5ab, 8-10, 14; Lk 1:57-66

All this week we have been hearing the stories of how John the Baptist and Jesus’ births came about. As we approach the end of the Octave before Christmas, we hear the last “O” antiphon today. “O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!” If you do not know what the “O” antiphons are, they are the antiphons used before the Gospel readings and before the canticle of Mary in the Liturgy of the Hours during the Octave before Christmas. Today’s “O” antiphon completes the anticipation we have been feeling all week as we wait for the coming of our Savior. Just imagine how Zechariah must have felt, not being able to speak knowing his first child was about to be born. The energy from this anticipation was burst forth once he proclaimed the name of his child. “John is his name,” he wrote. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.   

John, for his part, all throughout his life, went around proclaiming the coming of one who is greater than he. In fact, John, as an infant, leaped in Elizabeth’s womb, knowing who Jesus was. John spent his entire life preparing our hearts in anticipation for the Messiah. Now the stage is set for that moment when God will bend down from heaven and offer us His salvation in the person of His own Son, Jesus. For tomorrow is Christmas Eve, when we will once again prepare to meet our Savior as a tiny baby. And on Sunday, Christmas Day, we will celebrate His birth. I can imagine that we all are overcome with anticipation for that day. 

In these last 36-48 hours though, let us temper our anticipation a bit, and ponder what God is about to do. We, your unworthy servants, who were formed by the dust, have mercy on us as you chose to become flesh to save us from our enemies and those who hate us. Zechariah’s hymn of praise recited in the Gospel of Luke tomorrow, reminds us of who God is, and the promises He made to us long ago. It is right and just that we take the time, to praise Him for all He has done. Zechariah had it right once he was able to speak. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David.” So again, in this last day of anticipation, meditate on the last of the “O” antiphons before we celebrate Jesus’ birth, and allow God, who formed us from the dust, to save us and set us free. 

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL