Thoughts and Reflection
Today we start the Gospel of Luke. He dedicates his work to “Theophilus.” We don’t know who Theophilus is, he may have been a historical person or it may have been anyone who loves God. The name itself in Greek comes from theos which is the word for God and philos which is love.
The angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and tells him that his son will be a prophet. Here we see a reference to the prophecy that Elijah would precede the coming of the Messiah.
The Ark of the Covenant carried the Ten Commandments (the word of God) and the manna (bread from heaven). Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant that carries the Word made flesh and “the living bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:51) in her womb.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 Seeing that many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events that have reached their fulfilment among us,
2 as these were handed down to us by those who from the outset were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,
3 I in my turn, after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning, have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus,
4 so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received.
5 In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron.
6 Both were upright in the sight of God and impeccably carried out all the commandments and observances of the Lord.
7 But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both advanced in years.
8 Now it happened that it was the turn of his section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God
9 when it fell to him by lot, as the priestly custom was, to enter the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense there.
10 And at the hour of incense all the people were outside, praying.
11 Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense.
12 The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear.
13 But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you shall name him John.
14 He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth,
15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink; even from his mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit,
16 and he will bring back many of the Israelites to the Lord their God.
17 With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to reconcile fathers to their children and the disobedient to the good sense of the upright, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.’
18 Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How can I know this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.’
19 The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel, who stand in God’s presence, and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news.
20 Look! Since you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time, you will be silenced and have no power of speech until this has happened.’
21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he stayed in the sanctuary so long.
22 When he came out he could not speak to them, and they realised that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. But he could only make signs to them and remained dumb.
23 When his time of service came to an end he returned home.
24 Some time later his wife Elizabeth conceived and for five months she kept to herself, saying,
25 ‘The Lord has done this for me, now that it has pleased him to take away the humiliation I suffered in public.’
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favor! The Lord is with you.’
29 She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean,
30 but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour.
31 Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David;
33 he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’
34 Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?’
35 The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.
36 And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month,
37 for nothing is impossible to God.’
38 Mary said, ‘You see before you the Lord’s servant, let it happen to me as you have said.’ And the angel left her.
39 Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah.
40 She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.
41 Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42 She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
43 Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?
44 Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.
45 Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
48 because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name,
50 and his faithful love extends age after age to those who fear him.
51 He has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart.
52 He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly.
53 He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty.
54 He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love
55 -according to the promise he made to our ancestors — of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.
56 Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home.
57 The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son;
58 and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had lavished on her his faithful love, they shared her joy.
59 Now it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
60 but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said, ‘he is to be called John.’
61 They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name,’
62 and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called.
63 The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished.
64 At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God.
65 All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea.
66 All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.
67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:
68 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited his people, he has set them free,
69 and he has established for us a saving power in the House of his servant David,
70 just as he proclaimed, by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times,
71 that he would save us from our enemies and from the hands of all those who hate us,
72 and show faithful love to our ancestors, and so keep in mind his holy covenant.
73 This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
74 that he would grant us, free from fear, to be delivered from the hands of our enemies,
75 to serve him in holiness and uprightness in his presence, all our days.
76 And you, little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare a way for him,
77 to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the faithful love of our God in which the rising Sun has come from on high to visit us,
79 to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow dark as death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
80 Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit grew strong. And he lived in the desert until the day he appeared openly to Israel.
1 Now it happened that at this time Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be made of the whole inhabited world.
2 This census — the first — took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria,
3 and everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.
4 So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee for Judaea, to David’s town called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line,
5 in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
6 Now it happened that, while they were there, the time came for her to have her child,
7 and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the living-space.
8 In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night.
9 An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified,
10 but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.
11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12 And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’
13 And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words:
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favours.
15 Now it happened that when the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehemand see this event which the Lord has made known to us.’
16 So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.
17 When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him,
18 and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them.
19 As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.
21 When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.
22 And when the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord-
23 observing what is written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord-
24 and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is prescribed in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
25 Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration of Israel and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord.
27 Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required,
28 he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
29 Now, Master, you are letting your servant go in peace as you promised;
30 for my eyes have seen the salvation
31 which you have made ready in the sight of the nations;
32 a light of revelation for the gentiles and glory for your people Israel.
33 As the child’s father and mother were wondering at the things that were being said about him,
34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Look, he is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed-
35 and a sword will pierce your soul too — so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’
36 There was a prophetess, too, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years
37 before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer.
38 She came up just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
39 When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
40 And as the child grew to maturity, he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.
41 Every year his parents used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.
42 When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual.
43 When the days of the feast were over and they set off home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it.
44 They assumed he was somewhere in the party, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances.
45 When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.
46 It happened that, three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions;
47 and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies.
48 They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’
49 He replied, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’
50 But they did not understand what he meant.
51 He went down with them then and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people.
24 Better the corner of a roof to live on than a house shared with a quarrelsome woman.
25 Cold water to a thirsty throat; such is good news from a distant land.
26 A churned — up spring, a fountain fouled; such is the upright person trembling before the wicked.