The Joy of the Gospel – Luke 1:57-66 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ

As we enter into the Christmas season, Fr. Michael reminds us to remember the joy of the Gospel: the birth of our Saviour, Jesus; the coming of God as man through the humility of Mary who accepted God’s request from the Angel Gabriel and the hubris of Zachariah who did not and was struck dumb until the birth of his son, John.

Click the arrow to watch and listen to Fr. Michael’s inspiring Christmas message. His homily concludes with two poems this week. The text for each is posted below.

The Vision of Zechariah
by J. Michael Sparough, SJ

Luke 1: 5 – 25; 57 – 80

No, I will not be duped!
I, Zechariah, priest of the Most High,
Stand, an old man, here in this Holy of Holies.

From my youth, I have desired
To love only the One True God,
Yet my faith in my fathering has faded.

I must eat my bitter herbs
And long for a dayspring for another.
My own joy shall remain unspoken.

But lo, he speaks again – “Gabriel” his name,
A messenger who stands night and day
In the presence of our Almighty.

Alas, I am struck dumb!
I could not perceive what Love has conceived.
Oh, the tender mercy of our God.

Our prayer for an heir has been heard.
Elizabeth’s womb will soon bear fruit,
And we shall name him “John.”

Daybreak from on high will visit us,
Will shine on all who sit in darkness,
To guide our feet into the path of peace.

Yes, I’ve seen too much, envisioned too little,
Closed my eyes to truth, stood in blinding fear.
A hard grace has sat me down in silent wonder —

To await another Visitation…

Zacharia
 

The Joy of the Gospel
by J. Michael Sparough, SJ

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” – Luke 1:46

Let us bid goodbye to a sourpuss faith,
Living stoic of soul with a vinegar face,
Mourning each evening in funereal processions,
Grabbing and grasping our precious possessions.

Let us rejoice in the joy of the gospel!

For who could believe what we have been told?
To a woman quite young and another quite old
Was born the Baptizer who leapt in her womb,
And the holy Messiah who danced from His tomb.

Let us believe in the joy of the gospel!

Let us bid goodbye to a pickle-faced fast,
Feast on His mercy with a joy that will last.
Grace grows within us when Good News is shared,
When hearts spring open and sorrows are bared.

Let us open to the joy of the gospel!

Our God Child comes like a mustard seed,
Conceived in secret in hearts who believe.
For we reap so much more, so much more, than we’ve sown
Thru a power so much greater, always greater, than our own.

Let us delight in the joy of the gospel!

photo by Jaimie Trueblood from The Story of the Nativity, used with permission

photo by Jaimie Trueblood from The Story of the Nativity, used with permission

 
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