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June 24, 2019 Featured

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Gospel: Luke 1:57-66, 80
When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her.When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.” They said to her, “But no one in your family has that name!” and they made signs to his father for the name he wanted to give him. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote on it, “His name is John;” and they were very surprised. Immediately, Zechariah could speak again, and his first words were in praise of God.A holy fear came on all in the neighborhood, and throughout the hill

country of Judea the people talked about these events. All who heard of it, pondered in their minds, and wondered, “What will this child be?” For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.

Reflections

“His name is John.”Luke the evangelist presents his interpretation of the birth of John the Baptist. Through the rejoicing of Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives, Luke considers the birth as God’s intervention. God has done a big favor to Elizabeth who once was sterile and already too old for childbearing.There is additional excite­ ment at the naming of the child. Nobody in the neighborhood expected the child to be named John, but Zechariah who was muted for his initial disbelief, insisted that John should be his name. As he wrote his name, Zechariah could speak again, to the surprise of those following the events happening to the cou­ ple. Luke records the contents of his praises in the“Benedictus.”Now the excitement is not only limited to the neighborhood in Ain Kerem, but to the people living throughout the province of Judea. People collectively reflect on the meaning of John’s birth.Luke makes his last interpre­ tation looking at the birth and the reaction of the people. God’s power is with him.John must be very special in the eyes of God. The next child to be born will be more special. It was previously announced that John will prepare for the coming of the Messiah.
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