of Jacob'' (Nb 24,17). This announcement is made in the birth of Jesus, the Rising Sun.
The name 'Rising Sun' is a title that the Jewish tradition has reserved for the future Messiah. In the Jewish mentality, Yahweh must send his liberator from the East, the usual place of his divine apparitions. It is indeed in the East that God manifests himself when he comes to the aid of his people. The Messiah will even be so linked with the East that he will bear the name: "Here come days - oracle of Yahweh! where I will raise an authentic Rising Sun to David" (Jr 23:5).
The Song of the 'Benedictus' of Zacharias (Lc 1:68-79), as well as Mary's 'Magnificat' (Lc 1:46-55) are hymns woven with explicit and implicit biblical quotations. Through these songs of thanksgiving, the Holy Spirit teaches us how to read history with a look of faith. The rising praise of the heart and lips of Zacharias is both a blessing for the past, and a prophecy for the future; consequently, it articulates the Old and New Testaments, the proclamation and the realization.
The Messiah, the sun of salvation, brings deliverance, redemption to men oppressed by sin and death. "The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone" (Is 9,1).
For many centuries, the world was in deep darkness. From now on, following the effects of our God's great mercy, a glorious dawn was about to rise. It radiates in Christ, the light of the world! The nations, so far seated in darkness and in the shadow of death, will be illuminated in turn and the feet of those who fear His name will be led in the path of peace (Lc 1:79). Luke shows the accomplishment of this mission with tangible examples using words like path, way, road. Therefore, 'the symbol of the road' appears regularly to illustrate the fulfillment of salvation in Jesus Christ.
The Church prays every morning the Song of the Benedictus of Zacharias, when night and darkness are dissipated by the rising sun. She prays at the edge of the grave; over any night of death shines the star from above at its rising, Christ, who has overcome by his resurrection the domination of sin and death and who brings the renewal and restitution of the universe into a new universe (Ap 21:3).
Come, rising sun, splendour of eternal light, shining righteousness,
spread your clarity on those who lie in the shadow of death. Alleluia.
Fr. Georges Morin, ofm
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