Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.”
Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea.
All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The story is well-known: as Inigo de Loyola (St. Ignatius) convalesced in his family’s castle after the cannonball injury, he asked Magdalena, his sister-in-law, to bring reading material – preferably tales of daring warriors serving gorgeous ladies – to pass the time. Magdalena, who likely had access to many texts given her family’s status as minor nobility, brought him only The Life of Christ and The Life of the Saints. The rest is history.
Magdalena looked upon Inigo with love, (deliberately?) delivered the “wrong” books, and prepared the way for his conversion. John the Baptist, looked upon the people of his time with love, barked a message of repentance, and prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry. In both cases, neither strived to win a popularity contest. Through prayer, they were able to deliver truly what was needed. In this era of instant gratification, how, where, or for whom might we be called to do the same?
—Bill Kriege serves as the director of campus ministry at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO.
Teach Me Your Ways
Teach me your way of looking at people:
as you glanced at Peter after his denial,
as you penetrated the heart of the rich young man
and the hearts of your disciples.
I would like to meet you as you really are,
since your image changes those with whom you
come into contact.
Remember John the Baptist’s first meeting with you?
And the centurion’s feeling of unworthiness?
And the amazement of all those who saw miracles
and other wonders?
How you impressed your disciples,
the rabble in the Garden of Olives,
Pilate and his wife
and the centurion at the foot of the cross. . . .
I would like to hear and be impressed
by your manner of speaking,
listening, for example, to your discourse in the
synagogue in Capharnaum
or the Sermon on the Mount where your audience
felt you “taught as one who has authority.”
—Pedro Arrupe, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!