1. The Benedictus is a sign of hope And with the dawn we sing: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for he hath visited and redeemed his people’.
The re-awakening of hope comes with the dawn and all of us who have this vision are called to be sings and beacons of hope in our own homes and work places. As we go on with life after the Christmas season, it is important and necessary for all of us to see to it that hope is at the centre of our lives; not in the sense of wishing thinking, but a hope founded on what God has done and is doing and will do in Christ.
2 The Benedictus shows us the importance of tradition. Yes a new dawn breaks, but the old is not discarded. All the promises of God in the past stand. St. Luke would echo St. Paul: that Jesus Christ is the ‘yes’ to all God’s promises. Luke’s Gospel, of course, makes clear the mission of God to the Gentiles, but salvation for the Gentiles is anchored in God’s dealings with Israel. If this hymn did indeed originate in early Jewish Christian circles, it shows a community that could handle and value and honour its tradition, and certainly a community steeped in its Scriptures.
3 The Benedictus points us to the joy of being blessed by God; we call it a canticle which by definition is something we sing. So it is an outpouring of praise for God’s action, and how wonderful it is that we have these beautifully crafted and expressive ancient hymns in our Gospel and in our Liturgy. There is something very natural in the Christian tradition in turning theology into song. But it reminds us that Christian life and Christian action can only be sustained through worship.
Worship not only gives us the speech to celebrate and rejoice in God’s saving activity, but it also empowers us to have the vision and motivation to live what we profess. May we pray and sing Zechariah’s Benedictus everyday and may be challenged to always realize that it is our duty and privilege to prepare the way of the Lord, to spread the knowledge of salvation and to walk in the way of peace.