DECEMBER 23, 2016 – FRIDAY – THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

(Luke 1:57-63)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to obey your word.

Imagination: (Picture Elizabeth and Zechariah surrounded by their neighbors.)

Context:

Luke’s gospel describes the miracles that surround the conceptions and births of both John and Jesus. These numerous miracles proclaim that both are very special to God’s plan. In this text, Zechariah is healed and can speak again.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Elizabeth’s time came, she gave birth to a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his mercy towards her, they all rejoiced with her. On the eighth day, as they were to circumcise the child, they were going to call him by his father’s name, “Zachariah”. However, his mother said, “No. He will be called John.” They responded, “None of your relatives is called by that name.”

So, they asked the father what name he would want. Demanding a writing tablet, he wrote, “John is his name.” At that moment, his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed and he began to praise God. Fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. They all wondered, saying, “What will this child be?” And “Was not the hand of the Lord upon him?”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you).

  1. The neighbors don’t know the full mystery, that Elizabeth’s child was made holy in her womb.
  2. Bestowing the wrong name would lessen God’s gift.
  3. Elizabeth’s faith confronts their wisdom. The angel revealed the name, John, and she acts on that word.
  4. The neighbors are not satisfied. They refuse to accept God’s decision.
  5. Zechariah, however, has come to believe. He unites his faith with Elizabeth’s, and writes, ‘His name is John.”
  6. Having acted in faith, Zechariah experiences a reversal of his misfortune. His tongue is ready to bless God.
  7. In their deeply religious spirit, the crowd is filled with awe, wonder and fear of God.
  8. They become God’s witnesses.   Their tongues, too, are loosed to tell everyone of these events.
  9. All in that hill country treasure these words in their hearts.
  10. They see that God’s hand is upon John.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, give me Elizabeth’s staunch faith.
  2. Make me ready to oppose those who are obstacles to God’s will.
  3. Make my inner spirit, Lord, sensitive to your inspirations.
  4. How powerful, O Jesus, are two hearts united in faith. Let me find others who share my call.
  5. You have chosen a name for me, O Lord. Let me cherish the saint whose name I bear.
  6. Loosen my tongue and I will exalt you before others.
  7. O Jesus, fill me with awe, wonder and childlike faith.
  8. I am your mystery, O Lord. Your hand is upon me.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will examine the mystery of God’s call upon my life.
  2. I will join my heart to someone else who also believes.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Elizabeth said, “He shall be called John.” Zechariah wrote, “John is his name.”