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Thursday, December 19, 1996

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Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
Psalm 71
Luke 1:5-25

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"Do not be frightened, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth shall bear a son." —Luke 1:13

"The Israelites again offended the Lord, Who therefore delivered them into the power of the Philistines for forty years" (Jgs 13:1). The Lord dealt with the Philistines' oppression of the Israelites by creating a baby, Samson (Jgs 13:3).

Over a thousand years later, the Israelites were again conquered and oppressed, this time by the Romans. The Lord again dealt with the problem by creating a baby, John the Baptizer (Lk 1:13), and ultimately solved this problem by becoming a baby Himself.

Babies are not our problem; they are the answer to our problems. "Sons are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Ps 127:3). However, just creating more people is not the solution to our problems. Raising up more vowed people will liberate the world from the oppression of sin. Both Samson and John the Baptizer lived according to the Nazirite vow (Nm 6:2ff; Jgs 13:4-5; Lk 1:15). They were especially consecrated to the Lord. They were not only human beings, but vowed, consecrated new creations.

We need not only births but new births, not only life but new life, not only births but Baptisms. The Lord, Who told us to be fertile, multiply, and fill the earth (Gn 1:28), also told us to make disciples of all the nations and baptize them (Mt 28:19). We must have more people in the world to have the possibility of having more disciples. If we lead all nations to life in Christ, only then will we see a civilization of love.

A culture of death will not solve our problems but increase them. New life in Christ will give us a world of love, justice, and peace. Choose life (Dt 30:19) — life to the full (Jn 10:10).

Prayer:  Father, may this Christmas season be a prophetic celebration of life in the midst of our culture of death.

Promise:  "The Spirit of the Lord first stirred him." —Jgs 13:25

Praise:  Jill, a medical doctor, gave up her practice to become a mother and home-school teacher to her nine children. She is at the forefront of those who are renewing the church.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, June 20, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 1996