Israelite priesthood is reserved to the sons of Levi, and John, the son of the priest Zechariah, was expected to learn the role and functions of the priest at home and in the Jerusalem Temple. But John grew up in the desert surroundings in tune with his vocation as a prophet of the Lord—and more: as the precursor of the one who was coming, the Messiah. John was to be “a voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths,’ ” fulfilling the oracle of Isaiah (Lk 3:4; Is 40:3-5). The mysterious events that accompanied his birth — the annunciation to and the dumbness of Zechariah, the pregnancy of Elizabeth, the naming of the child, and Zechariah’s recovery of his speech — all point to the fact that the hand of the Lord was with John.
Gospel • 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 mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.
Source: “365 Days with the Lord 2022,” St. Pauls, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.