Faith Daily | 23 December 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - Advent Four APBA p 468
you have made us and all things to serve you:
come quickly to save us,
so that wars and violence shall end
and your children may live in peace,
honouring one another with justice and love;
through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord,
who lives with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 1: 57-66
57Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” 61They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” 62Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 64Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Mary Dean
A number of powerful outcomes are found in these few verses!
The huge part that Mary who gave birth to Jesus, and Elizabeth, who gave birth to John play in our Christian story …..has struck me afresh….especially as my parents named me Mary Elizabeth when I was born! I have a lot to live up to!
Mary and Elizabeth obviously had a strong bond. When Elizabeth declared that the name of the baby should be John, and Zechariah agreed with that despite John not being a family name - his speech returned after he agreed with Elizabeth! Elizabeth and Zechariah were a priestly family - but old, and didn’t expect they could possibly have children. But an angel had appeared to him earlier saying he would have a son and should name him John …and at that stage because he didn’t believe it would be possible, he was struck dumb. We can see here that it was Elizabeth who took the lead first and said he should be called John. How powerful that after the birth and writing down that his name should be John, Zechariah’s speech was restored. To me, a great reminder of the necessity to be obedient to God.
The birth of a long-awaited child is an occasion of great joy. The unexpected has happened! To highlight this, the child is given a new name to show that God has a special mission for him. For the ancient Jews a name captured, even defined, a person's identity. So for Elizabeth to name her son "John" was significant. It showed her recognition of God's great plan for the child. John was in the Almighty's special care from the start. Even today, every child is loved by God and has a destiny in the heavenly Father's plan.
God has something special for all of us to do : we are to reveal God’s love where we find ourselves, through our gifts and talents. We must ask for the grace to carry out our mission as faithfully as John did his, even though the cost may be great.
FINAL PRAYER: Jim Cotter “Unfolding the Word”
Presence of mystery,
here in our midst,
disclosing the secret
hidden in the deep places of our hearts,
for whom we wait,
for whom we listen,
may we hear your voice
and respond to your invitation,
and, like Mary, embrace your will,
welcoming your incarnation in our flesh.
We pray this through the One
in whose constant coming we trust,
whose day is always near.