Faith Daily | 24 June 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p552
Almighty and everlasting God,
you are always more ready to hear that we to pray,
and give more than either we desire or deserve:
pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy,
forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid,
and giving us those good things
which we are not worthy to ask,
save through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ,
your Son our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 1: 57-66, 80
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60 But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” 62 Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
80 The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Graeme Curnow
Childless couples might resonate with the situation Elizabeth and Zechariah were in - childless, of advancing years and apparently beyond child-bearing age.
The message for all of us is that we should never give up on our hopes and trust in the Lord to answer out prayers. Even in old age He may have a role or two for us that have far reaching consequences, when He blesses us and we obey Him.
Both Zechariah and Elizabeth were devout and served at the Temple. Zechariah was on a roster, chosen by lot, to offer incense at the Golden Altar in the Holy Place.
While serving at the Temple Zechariah sees the angel Gabriel who tells him that he will have a son who will become a great prophet – like Elijah, and a herald for the long-awaited Messiah. Zechariah was to name the baby John, an unfamiliar name in the family.
Zechariah did not believe Gabriel’s message, thus he was rendered mute, until the time when the baby boy was born.
Zechariah went home from the Temple and Elizabeth promptly conceived…...
A baby boy is born to Elizabeth. Upon affirming that the boy is to be named John, Zechariah recovers his ability to speak and immediately prophesies before the family members who have gathered to attend the ritual circumcision of his son.
Zechariah's gift of prophesy foretells the future ministry of Jesus and as Christian worship grows to include formal liturgies, his words become the text for the Benedictus canticle.
After recounting the birth story of John, Luke relates that John grew strong and “lived in the wilderness “ until he began his public ministry.
The people of the Qumran settlement, who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls, apparently used the term “ living in the wilderness” to refer to residing in the community at Qumran, near the Dead Sea.
Could it be that John spent his early years being educated at Qumran?
FINAL PRAYER: PRAYER OF THE DAY FOR JOHN THE BAPTIST APBA p613
by whose providence your servant John the Baptist
was wonderfully born,
and sent to prepare the way for your Son our Saviour
by preaching a baptism of repentance:
make us so to follow his teaching holy life,
that we may truly repent,
and, following his example, may constantly speak the truth,
boldly rebuke vice,
and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.