December 23, 2019

Gospel LK 1:57-66 When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.” Reflection When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. Elizabeth was an elderly woman who was barren throughout her life. Yet, God had a plan for her to give birth to an extraordinary child whom she and her husband named John. Their child (John the Baptist) was to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, God’s own son upon the earth. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” The great prophet Isaiah told us that God said, “ I have called you by name. You are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1) God had a “purpose” for Elizabeth and for John; He has a purpose for each of us. Some of us may be aware of our purpose. Others, like Elizabeth, may search their entire life before knowing what God’s purpose is for them. But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name, and all were amazed.” Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,and he spoke blessing God. Like Zechariah and John the Baptist, our purpose in life is to “open” our mouths and proclaim the coming of the Lord. Whether we discover this truth early or late in life, “our tongue must be freed” as we courageously make Christ known through our words and deeds. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. “Fear” is the opposite of faith. Fear cripples and keeps us from moving forward. God tells us, “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you…” (Isaiah 43:1) The antidote to fear is faith. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.” The prophecies of old came true in the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. And, “surely, the hand of the Lord” is also upon each of us, calling us to go forth and spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness for all of His children. “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8