As I was doing morning prayer today, a thought occurred to me. I was saying the Canticle of Zechariah, which can be found in Luke 1:68-79.
Zechariah is the father of John the Baptist. He was struck mute (made speechless) by an angel of the Lord (Gabriel) for doubting and basically asking for a sign or confirmation that what the angel told him was true. The angel had told Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth would bear a child in her old age and the child would be special and be named John. Since he and Elizabeth had not had any children thus far, Zechariah was doubtful.
He remained mute throughout Elizabeth’s pregnancy, and was only allowed to speak after he wrote, in obedience to the angel’s words, “His name is John.” After that, he began to speak, and filled with the holy spirit, to prophesy. The words that he spoke are known as the Canticle of Zechariah, and are recited every morning by those who say the Liturgy of the Hours.
One of the sentences that he said goes like this: “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.” The child spoken to in this passage is his newborn son John, later to be known as John the Baptist.
But as I was reading this today I thought, I wonder if this passage doesn’t just apply to John the Baptist. Maybe it applies to me, too.
Now, don’t think I’m some megalomaniac that sees herself as “the prophet of the Most High.” No, I’m thinking mostly of the part that talks about giving people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. I think we are all called to do that. I mean, isn’t that the Good News itself?
I don’t know if we are in the end times or not. But sooner or later Jesus will be coming again, and it is probably our job to make sure that people are ready. Jesus will be the one to save everyone, but we can make His path easy and straight by preparing people, by telling them that Jesus is the one that can and will forgive their sins.
I find this message very comforting. My sins will be forgiven, and thereby my soul will be saved. We can argue, if we want, about whether we all need to go to Confession in order for our sins to be forgiven. But I think we can all agree that our sins can and will be forgiven by Jesus. That he is our Savior.
Personally, I like being reminded of this, so I go to Confession. It is so wonderful to have someone remind me that my sins are forgiven and Jesus is saving me. I wish I didn’t make so many mistakes and commit so many sins. I wish I was perfect and didn’t need any more saving. But there in the confessional, Father blesses me and reminds me that I am a precious child of God. It makes me feel so good. Why don’t I go to Confession every week? I guess I just get too caught up in the world.
Hey, it is 3:30 pm on a Saturday right now! I think I know where I’m heading…