December 23, 2016
Friday of the Fourth Week in Advent
The Gospel Today
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 (Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura)
The literal meaning of the name John is “God is gracious.” During John the Baptist’s circumcision and naming ceremony, Elizabeth was rebuked by her relatives for her choice of the name John. Her relatives preferred to name him after his father, Zechariah. In response, the mute old priest Zechariah wrote on a tablet that “His name is John.” By this, John’s parents were confirming God’s graciousness in their lives, despite Zechariah’s episodic doubts.
To remember God’s graciousness is important for all of us. For in truth, we only exist on account of God’s graciousness. All is grace! At times I forget this truth especially when I am so caught up with life. I begin to think erroneously that much of what I have or hold are but fruits of my labor. These fruits are here because I have earned them, I have worked for them. I am really entitled to them. Of course I have conveniently forgotten that even the very life breath, the strength, every resource that went into what I worked on, all the collaboration I enjoyed are really grace. God, in His graciousness, has given us this bounty and this stewardship for a life we build and work on.
This Christmas, let us not forget to spend some time, just reviewing the ending year. Just review the many, many gifts that this extravagant God has given us through the months and days. Thank God for all the love and life and light. Praise God for all his graciousness to us. God is good and He remembers to fulfill all of his promises. Truly, God is gracious and his gift of life to us is grace.