06/24 Thursday of week XII

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard.
 Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.”

GOSPEL, Luke (1: 5-17)

Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

 5 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. 8 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10 Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

 The Gospel of the Lord

  

REFLECTION

 In these Gospel verses, (vv.5-17) St. Luke accurately describes the supernatural events leading to the birth of John the Baptist, a blessing for his parents Elizabeth and Zechariah and for all the people of Israel.

The prophecy of the Angel of the Lord comes true, as do the other biblical readings tell us.

John the Baptist, a fascinating, charismatic and radical prophet, servant of the truth, fulfills the role of the Messiah’s forerunner, by a strong and often tough message of repentance, his manner and dress, his frugal diet and hermit life in the solitude of the desert gives shape and credence to his message.

John the Baptist is “the witness” of Christ par excellence. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:7-9) that is, to the Word of God made man. “29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! ” (John 1:29)

He sincerely and honestly confesses his condition as the Messiah’s forerunner, prophetically denounces evil, assuming its consequences, prison and martyrdom.

Constantly repeating “Repent” because the kingdom of God is near, the message attracted those who were humble from the people, eager for the coming of the Messiah. “What should we do?” they asked. John the Baptist summed up the quality of life in the effective and liberating love that communicated the salvation received from God.

Due to his lifestyle, his activity and his violent death, John the Baptist imposes his personality on all readers of the Gospel.

With his radical orientation concerning Christ, he becomes our guide to spiritual life; we need to listen to St. John’s call to conversion every day.

Converting to Christianity involves a deeply committed adjustment in all areas of their personal, social, political, administrative, professional, educational…lives.

Structural changes are necessary for the acquisition of social justice, but they will only have an effect with the conversion of people.

 

PRAYER

We bless You, God of apostles and prophets, for the prophetic witness of John the Baptist, the humble and righteous forerunner of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Teach us to live in your presence and always praise You with a joyful heart for your loving generosity as a Father because in You, everything is presence and grace, tenderness and affection. Amen.