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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 1:57-66,80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, "No. He will be called John." But they answered her, "There is no one among your relatives who has this name." So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name," and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, "What, then, will this child be?" For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

REFLECTION: "What, then, will this child be?"

Thirty eight years ago yesterday, we celebrated our daughter's birth. It was an exciting moment— first born and as parents we were excited but scared. Many months were spent deciding on a name, getting the room ready, buying baby clothing and diapers. There were many baby showers. We wondered what will our baby grow up to be, who will the baby favor, what, then, will this child be? Grandparents were in the waiting room, waiting to take pictures and to see their first grandchild. Exciting moments indeed.

And such a moment was what Elizabeth and Zechariah also experienced. And now their baby was born.

Babies are miracles!! In St John the Baptist's case many miracles were witnessed. First of all, his mother had been barren but she conceived in her old age. His father was mute but when all were deciding the baby's name, Zechariah immediately spoke after writing the name, "John" meaning "The Lord is gracious". And they became fearful when discussing all these matters saying, "What, then, will this child be?"

St John the Baptist was the last prophet and his mission and message was to proclaim the coming of Christ. The Holy Spirit began His work at the birth of John the Baptist. John the Baptist lived in the desert, fasted and sacrificed. He was preparing himself for his mission, for bringing souls to God, baptizing for repentance.

God gave us life and though we might live average lives, God created us for a reason. Like St John the Baptist we should have a convincing, strong and courageous voice, humbling ourselves for the Kingdom of God. May our priests be awakened from complacency and be aroused to evangelize.

PAPA Foundation
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