Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 200 Malachai 3:1-4,23-24. Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9. 10.14.
Zechariah patiently awaits the help of the Lord and it happens once he
accepts from Elizabeth the giving of the name John to his son. His own
lack of trust was offset by that of Elizabeth; she remaining faithful to
the Lord in the promise of a child though she was barren tells those
present at the circumcision of the child that his name is John (the graced
one). The event of circumcision is a confirmation of the covenant that God
makes with his people Israel. Zechariah will break into his own blessing
and praise of God’s fidelity in the hymn that we call the Benedictus. This
has formed the Morning Prayer of the Church throughout the centuries and
reminds us of God’s covenant and the role that the child born of Elizabeth
and Zechariah will be to witness and proclaim the coming of the Messiah.
We all like the people gathered would have probably thought it best to name
the child after Zechariah, but Elizabeth who has been filled with the Holy
Spirit says that her child is to be named Johannan. Her husband asks for a
tablet and writes “John is his name.” His tongue is immediately released
and he begins to praise God who has mercy on him and given him this child.
The righteousness of both parents was declared by Luke and now it is
confirmed. Elizabeth in cooperating with the Holy Spirit is prophetic in
naming the child but also in what she had said of her cousin Mary upon
greeting her. Blessedness is a word that sums up the events of the
circumcision of John and also recalls how Mary too was with child and would
name him Jesus according to the narrative of Luke.
Both Mary and Elizabeth are with us this day as we continue to look forward
to Christmas Day and all that it means for the world. We pray to the
prince of peace that God’s message through the angelic choir will be ours
as we approach a New Year: “All at once there was with the angel a great
company of the heavenly host, singing praise to God: Glory to God in
highest heaven, and on earth peace to all in whom he delights.” Amen.