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.
Who are we? Who am I? These might seem to be trivial questions with trivial answers. I am a student, I am an accountant, I am a teacher. He is a parent; she is a daughter. Yet, how often do we identify ourselves as children of God, formed in the image and likeness of the one who created us? That ought to be the first response that comes to mind when someone asks us who we are.
Today, it seems that many people look at their neighbors as anything but brothers and sisters in Christ. They insist on conferring others with earthly labels, unable, or unwilling, to look deeper. May those veils that prevent us from seeing Jesus in those around us dissolve away, so that, like Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, we too may speak and act and see in a way that blesses God and God’s creation.
—Michael Petterson is a senior at the University of Michigan and is an active member of St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
—Canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1: 68-79)Please share the Good Word with your friends!