Allowing Light to Come from the Darkness

December 24, 2020   Thursday in the Fourth Week of Advent - Mass in the Morning (Lectionary: 200)

Reading 1   2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16
When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”
Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?

“‘It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Responsorial Psalm   PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 AND 29
R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   LK 1:67-79
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

By Pablo Jimenez 

A year of struggles, fear, suffering, sadness and even despair… It feels as if it had been a year when days grow shorter and shorter and darkness advances over light relentlessly. Waves of confusion and uncertainty have threatened to drown me in dark seas of fear and angst.

Will darkness continue gaining terrain until light is nothing but a dream or a distant memory?

The answer is no: a radical, unqualified no!

Today, on the day before Christmas, Zechariah proclaims God’s faithfulness with a canticle that has found a very special place in my heart. Indeed, I look back today and realize how many times the words of this hymn gave me peace and consolation during dark moments. Repeatedly, numb with fear, the canticle would burst inside of me and flow out of my lips.

In contrast with the darkness of the world, this wondrous canticle allowed me to rest in the certainty of God’s faithfulness, a God who is crazy in love for me and the entire world. The words I so often prayed in the good days in the Liturgy of the Hours, sometimes attentively, sometimes mindlessly, had become engraved in my heart by the fire of God’s love. 

The God of Israel, the God of great deeds, came to His chosen people. He forwent all glory and majesty to walk among those who sought Him.

And He also comes to my heart, with all its joys, hopes, miseries and sins.

I cannot deny God has come to me in the darkest moments of these unprecedented times, and He continues to come when my soul thirsts for him.

The God of Abraham, the God of Zechariah, my God is a faithful God, faithful to his eternal Word. As if everything were an eternal present, as if I could see and hear Zechariah uttering his canticle, my heart burns in the freedom to worship God without fear, to serve without fear, to love without fear. God’s faithfulness is the certainty that comforts!

Today, on the day before Christmas, I long to contemplate God in human likeness, for God has wanted to look like me to show me all the love I am capable of. Tonight, by the manger, I will sing with Zechariah, “In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us,” a new dawn that guides my feet into the way of peace. This is my peace, this is my life, this is my joy. I will also sing the goodness of the Lord!


Pablo Jimenez was born in Puebla, Mexico, and now lives in New York City. He has been a parishioner and catechist at the church of St. Francis Xavier, a Roman Catholic Parish in the Jesuit tradition, since 2017. Pablo works at the Mexican Studies Institute at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he promotes educational opportunities for underserved communities in NYC. He’s an avid reader of Latin American literature, Christian theology and history, and Peanuts. You can follow him on Instagram here.

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