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  • Sr Siobhán

Speech restored to the glory of God


Fourth Week of Advent: Friday

Reading: Luke 1:57-66

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned, and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.


Reflection

A woman who had feared that she would never give birth has borne a son. For she who had wept in the night, joy has burst forth with the dawn. God has been merciful to her and Zechariah; now they will consecrate their little boy to the Lord forever. Tradition has determined that his name will be Zechariah; this name has served the family well for many generations and so it will be. However, she who has given birth intervenes, it shall not be so; ‘he is to be called John.’. Upholding the culture of the time, the voice and decision of the father is sought. He who had questioned the angel has remained dumb until now and seeks out a writing tablet to respond. His reply confirms the name his wife has stated. Zechariah, dumb no more, rings out his song of praise to God. Onlookers are astonished and called to deeper faith. They discussed amongst themselves the mission that God may have in mind for this miraculous chid. This prayer would later echo in the heart of Mary and Joseph when they welcomed their divine child, ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ Like John, the hand of the Lord was with him.

We give thanks for Elizabeth and Zechariah’s unflinching trust in God’s faithfulness. Through their intercession and our surrender, may God’s will come to pass in our lives for his greater glory.

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