Thursday of the fourth Week of Advent
(II Samuel 7:1-5.8b-12.14a.16; Luke 1:67-79)
Frank Leahy was a legendary football coach at Notre Dame during the 1940’s and 1950’s. During his tenure, he recruited the Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung. He did not have to lure the high school star from Louisville with a car or money. Leahy just asked his prospect whether he would like to use the body God had given him to honor God’s mother. In today’s gospel Zachariah prophesizes that his newborn son will similarly not work to bring notoriety to himself but to God’s Son.
In the passage Zachariah notes that God is fulfilling the promise he made to David in the first reading. He says that his son John will prepare the way for a savior of David’s lineage. John will preach repentance so that the savior could bring about forgiveness of their sins. The savior, of course, is Jesus, the dawn guiding his followers on the road to peace.
One of the hardest lessons in life is learning how not to draw attention to ourselves but to God. It’s not that we just want people to think well of us, but that we want them to think of us as better than others. It is part of our sinfulness that Jesus has now come to reconcile. Humility will draw us closer Jesus. It will make us more like him and more reliant on him as our recompense.