Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent
December 19, 2016
Daily Reading from the USCCB: Luke 1:5-25
Today’s Gospel recounts the promise to Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, that her barrenness would finally end and she would bear a son. Zechariah is told that their son would be “great in the sight of God.” The fact that Elizabeth had been barren for so long was seen–incorrectly of course–as a punishment from God. It was doubly troubling for them since Zechariah himself was a priest of the temple.
There is a basic truth that sometimes is cast aside when a problem or tragedy touches a person. Some individuals seem to immediately conclude that they have done something wrong and this difficult time of suffering is a punishment from God. But nothing could be further from the truth. God is healer and savior, not punisher. God is not judging us now–we make our journey as wounded human beings as do all people. And we have to admit that much human suffering is self-imposed by the way people live their lives.
At the same time we also know that unexpected suffering and difficulty can call a person to honest self-examination and change in their own lives. With grace they may find themselves humbler and better able to accept the imperfections of others.