Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist 2020

On the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist, we read in today’s Gospel (Lk 1:57-66, 80) the birth of John to Elizabeth and Zechariah. It is important to recall Luke's Gospel begins by describing Elizabeth and Zechariah as having no children because Elizabeth was barren, and now both were beyond childbearing years (cf. Lk 1:7). Also remember for nine months Zechariah is not able to speak because he doubted the angel Gabriel that he and Elizabeth would have a child. But the moment Zechariah does as Gabriel said to do, name his newborn son John, Zechariah is once again able to speak. The first thing Zechariah does is he blesses God. Compare the patience of Zechariah and Elizabeth to our "I want it now" society. Here was an elderly, childless couple during a time when being childless was seen as a form of punishment. Late into their lives, still faithful to God, they are blessed with a child. Even when Zechariah is stricken for nine months following his moment of disbelief, as his ability to speak returns he immediately blesses God. We have a few months of a loosely enforced quarantine and we start losing it. People shooting others over a simple request to wear face masks in stores, conspiracies theories being tossed about like beads at Mardi Gras, medical advice disregarded because it hinders our getting back to normal immediately. Patience is a virtue. Let us be virtuous through greater patience, like Zechariah and Elizabeth.

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