Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
The praise and blessing of today’s Gospel follows initial disbelief. Zechariah had journeyed from contesting with an angel about the timing of God’s answer, to glorifying God for His plan and His faithfulness at his child’s birth. His mouth is opened to bless God when he writes his son’s name, a name for a prophet of the Most High, confirming Elizabeth’s proclamation about their son. John is the answer to Zechariah’s prayer, but he did not ask for all that he would be, “great in the sight of the Lord."
Remember, at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 1:5-20), Zechariah enters the sanctuary to perform the priestly service and encounters an angel.
"Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord."
Zechariah responds, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
Zechariah, resigned so completely to silence from the Most High on a prayer surely said for years, is unable to comprehend God’s power to overcome obstacles and give him “joy and gladness” in his old age.
Gabriel tells Zechariah he will be speechless because of his unbelief until “these things…be fulfilled at their proper time.”
How often Zechariah, mute, must have reflected on Gabriel’s words as the child grew in Elizabeth’s womb!
On the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the promised joy and gladness are Zechariah’s and Elizabeth’s as relatives and neighbors rejoice with them and wonder what this child will be: a child “strong in spirit” to prepare the way for Christ the Lord.
Do we recognize that God holds not only the struggle and longing of today in His hands, but also the awesome fulfillment – at its proper time – of tomorrow?
Lord, help me to remain steadfast in hope. Bless me, so I can recognize and welcome Your answers to prayer, especially if they are not who, what, or when I expect them to be.
Copyright 2021 Hillary Ibarra