Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent
(Judges 13:2-7.24-25a; Luke 1:5-25)
Catholics are often amazed when the differences among the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life are reviewed. The differences may be seen in the first chapter of each gospel. Mark begins with John preaching in the desert. Both Matthew and Luke treat Jesus’ birth, but Matthew will focus on Joseph’s role and Matthew on Mary’s. John goes back to the beginning of creation when the Word co-existed with God, the Father.
With all the differences, however, there are very impressive similarities among the gospels. Mark, Luke, and John tell of John the Baptist in their initial chapters. Matthew defers mention of the Baptist until he finishes the story of Jesus’ birth and infancy. But Matthew begins his story of Jesus’ birth with the patriarch Abraham, who is much like Zachariah with whom Luke introduces his gospel. Both Abraham and Zachariah are faithful; both long to have a child; and both have their prayers heard by an indulgent God.
We need not be dismayed by the differences encountered in the gospel narratives. The gospels essentially agree, and they universally call forth our faith in Jesus as Lord. They concur that he is the God who became human so that we might share his divine happiness. Once again God indulges His children by granting our deepest longing.