Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist

Luke 1:57-66, 80

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Helen Bellew

Published: June 24, 2016

Read 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... Read More…


Knitting and Naming … It’s all about RELATIONSHIP!

One of the ways that we discover ourselves in relationship to God as well as a means of continuing to grow in that relationship is to find ourselves in the rich and revealing stories of scripture.

The liturgy of today’s Feast of St. John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, tells a story of intimacy through an un-named psalmist and three named characters in scripture: Isaiah, David and John, each successively directing our attention and our desire for union with God toward the advent of Jesus.

What’s in a name? Quite a lot! And in this scripture story from Luke, it sets the whole community a buzz! Traditionally the right of parents to determine, naming a child is an expression of intimacy, of relationship, of responsibility for another. We get the sense that Elizabeth and Zechariah know more than they are letting on, since they both remain steadfast in their decision to name their son “John.”  We also witness the powerful mercy and compassion of God in the transformation of Elizabeth’s barren womb to bring forth the son who would prepare the way for the Messiah. Zechariah’s response in faith brings about a release from his speech impediment and his first utterances are in praise of God!

The psalmist recounts all of the ways that God has known and probed and scrutinized him-all demonstrating God’s care. He proclaims gratitude and praise “for I am wonderfully made!”  Beyond this, however, in the image of “knitting” we recognize an even greater intimacy with God – knitting, stitch by stitch, woven together, both hands gently, carefully guiding the movement of the needles, counting, one at a time, climaxing in a beautiful new creation! God’s patient, loving, attentive Hand – how often do we give thanks and praise for how wonderfully we are made?

Isaiah was called by God from his mother’s womb to be God’s servant to “bring back the children of Jacob and to gather again the people of Israel.” But God had further expectations for him; namely, that he would be “a light to the nations so that God’s salvation might reach to the ends of the earth.”

God depends on us to communicate God to the world. We are called through our Baptism to manifest in our own lives the goodness and love of God. We are no longer servants but “members of the household of God” (St. Paul). We are called to be “light to the nations, salvation to the ends of the world.” Indeed, we each have an essential role to fulfill in the evolutionary unfolding of the universe story. God continues to interact in human history through the gift of the Holy Spirit and the faith-filled lives of those who grasp the message of Jesus and proclaim it each day by how they live.

Isaiah, David, John, Jesus – God’s plan for salvation continues to take shape down through the generations.  St. Paul tells us that to keep his promise, God has given a savior, heralded by John who pointed the way to Jesus.  He continues:  “Friends-children of the family of Sarah and Abraham, and you others who worship our God-this message is for you!” Have we thought about our response?

 

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