June 24, 2019

Gospel LK 1:57-66, 80
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.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”
Like modern day parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah had no crystal ball. They could only love their baby and wonder what it meant that the “hand of the Lord was with him.”
As John grew, he became strange, living alone in the desert, wearing camel hair shirts and eating locusts.
As a parent, I am certain that Elizabeth and Zechariah spent many sleepless nights worrying about John. His parents could never have imagined that their strange child was destined to call people to repentance and herald the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
As the “hand of God” was with John, I believe that God’s hand is with every child born. Every parent, when holding their newborn child, asks themselves the same question: “What, then, will this child be?”
But, what about the parent to whom a “challenged” child is born?
I had the great privilege of working for 15 years with Tommy, an adult man with Down’s Syndrome.
Tommy’s mom once told me, “When Tommy was born, my husband Paul and I were so upset. We could never have imagined then what joy Tommy would bring into the world. Tommy has bonded our family together and touched the hearts of all who know him.”
Like Elizabeth and Zechariah, like Tommy’s mom, every parent worries most about the child who appears to be the weakest, the most needy.
To those parents, I say simply love your child, take heart and have faith.
God doesn’t make junk. Every child is God’s original Masterpiece.
“The child grew and became strong in spirit.” Luke 2:40