But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, “because your prayer has been heard.” Luke 1:13
We pray because we long for something we do not yet have or enjoy. We pray for health, we pray for healing, we pray for peace. There are many reasons why we pray.
In today’s readings, we have two examples of families praying for children, knowing that their time to have children has passed them by. In both families, the wife was considered barren. In both families, it did not stop them from praying.
These two accounts, one from the Hebrew Testament and the other from the New Testament are timely ones for our Advent season. This is the season of Hope. This is the season of praying for something we long for but have no expectation of receiving. This kind of prayer is an exercise of faith. We do it because we want something, not because we think that we will receive it. We pray because we trust in God!
Sometimes we need to be careful about what we pray for because God sometimes answers our prayers and we are not ready for them.
When the people of God longed for a Savior, they prayed for one. And the Son of God became flesh and dwelt among us. As we read our scriptures, we were clearly not ready for the coming of the Baby Jesus. The Word made flesh was the answer to our prayer but our hearts were not ready to receive him.
Let us rejoice during this time as we realize that the Baby Jesus, born in an abandoned stable in Bethlehem, was the answer to our prayer! Let us be ready for those surprises that God has in store for us! Come, Lord Jesus!
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Mater Dolorosa Community in Sierra Madre, California.