First Reading: Jgs 13:2-7. 24-25a; Psalm: 71. R. v. 8a; Gospel: Lk 1:5-25
PRAYING IN THE TEMPLE
Zachariah obviously was not happy as a priest without a child. This was because the Jews traditionally believed that any Jew who had a wife but no child was excommunicated by God. This was enough to make Zachariah feel sad and dejected. And for the fact that he was a priest makes it even more a shameful thing. Zachariah and his wife Elizabeth had to live with this feeling and reality for years. Although they were righteous in keeping the commands of God, they however were childless.
There were thousands of priests in Jerusalem. It could happen that many priests may never have the privilege to burn incense in the temple all their life because the choice of a priest to offer incense in the temple in Jerusalem was by lot. If the lot fell on a priest; that might well be the greatest day of his life. This time around, the lot fell on Zachariah to burn incense in the temple. There was no doubt that his agony of childlessness accompanied him as he entered the temple. While he burned incense and petitions, God showed him mercy and promised him a son. Although Zachariah doubted and became dumb as a consequence, God however fulfilled his promise to him.
There is power in prayer especially when we enter the house of God bringing our burdens and petitions before God. This story of Zachariah should also remind us of the story of Hannah in the Bible. Hannah came to the temple in tears and cried to God making a promise to offer her child in service to God if God gave her one (1Sam 1:10-11). Eventually, God blessed her with Samuel. Sometimes, aside going to Mass, we can make out time and go to Church to kneel and pour out our hearts to God in prayer. This spiritual exercise is efficacious. Because at times God needs to see our hunger before he satisfies our needs. And whoever seeks the Lord in his temple will not be put to shame.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord God, we pray that our faith in you may never fail. When we run to you seeking your blessings and favour, may we never be put to shame. Amen.