Eucharistic Readings for the Nativity of John the Baptist: June 24
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things.” (Luke 1:59 – 65)
Today we remember the birth of John the Baptist.
This is the custom of the day, on the eighth day circumcision was performed and the naming of the male child. So at first, without any questions they were going to name John the Baptist, “Zechariah,” after his father. But Elizabeth spoke up and said “NO.” He will be called John, she said. They didn’t believe her because no male in her family had that name, and so, they dismissed her. (Just a note: Peter and John did the same thing to Mary Magdalene at the Resurrection of Jesus. Too often men still don’t listen to women as we should)
Meanwhile, Zechariah was silenced by the angel Gabriel for doubting his authority (Luke 1: 18 – 20). So therefore, when they wanted to ask him about the baby’s name, they had to hand him writing material for his response. “And to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” I want to point out here that Zechariah did not say “he will be called John,” but rather, his name IS John. He was fore ordained by God.
John grew up in the wilderness, unpolluted by the false doctrine of the Temple authorities. He was an empty vessel and therefore useful for God’s filling. He spoke truth to power and is praised by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We too are called to speak truth to power, no matter the costs. We all need to empty ourselves as John the Baptist did in order to be made useful for God.
Today we remember the birth of John the Baptist. You have six months to Christmas Day!
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John