The Gospel Today
Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
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.
Reflection (Sem. Louiemar Melgar):
It is said that there are three things for a person to be remembered in this world. He has to do something great as his legacy. First, he has to plant a tree for him to be remembered. When the seedlings that he has planted grow and become a full grown tree, then he has a memory that will be remembered. Second, he has to write a book. When he has written a hardcover, his idea and knowledge of a subject matter would remain in the mind of the readers. And third, a person has to marry for him to procreate and produce a child. Through man’s offspring, his bloodline continues to remain.
In the Gospel today we may ask, “What is the reason why Zechariah and Elizabeth dreamed to have a child of their own? Is it because they wanted that their bloodline to continue to exist through their offspring so that it would be remembered by the people?” For the Jews, the married couple who has no child or offspring are considered cursed by God. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Zechariah and Elisabeth wanted to have a child of their own, for them not to be considered cursed.
The name ‘John’ has a connotation that means “God is gracious.” Through the graciousness of God, it is John who is the answer of their prayer. Yet, through the name of their son John, the truth is that they are not forgotten and cursed by God; that is why Zechariah named his son John. Though in the perspective of human anatomy it is no longer possible for Elisabeth to conceive a son because of her old age, God allowed it to happen because of the couple’s prayer of request.
In our respective lives, do we give recognition that all we have received comes from the Lord? Do we give praise and thanks to God when He answers our prayer? Do we not make any complain when our prayers are not immediately given an answer? Each one of us has to recognize that we are also meant to be called “John” because all that we receive come from the Lord. We are graced by God because God is always gracious to us.