Gospel Reflection for June 24, Birth of St. John the Baptist

18 Jun
Elizabeth gave birth to a son and announced his name was John.  Since that was not a family name, people questioned her decision.  They asked her husband, Zechariah, who has been mute since he failed to believe God’s promise of a son.

“Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, ‘His name is John.’  They all marveled.  Immediately Zechariah’s mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.”

Luke 1.63-64

In the culture of the Israelites, the naming of a child is very significant.  In the case of John the Baptist and Jesus, God gives the parents the name of the child before birth.  The circumstances surrounding God’s naming clues us to the person’s role and responsibility in bringing about the ultimate reign of God in history.  God, not Zechariah, names John.  All who hear about his naming understand that surely “the hand of the Holy One was with him.”

What does your first name, or baptismal or confirmation patron saint name, or your nickname say about the promise or expectation of how the hand of the Holy One has guided and shaped your vocation and ministry in the church and community?

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