The Gospel according to 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.”
Reflection: I am the fourth Child and second son of my parents, Pablo and Guillermina. It took me many years and renewing my last license that brought me to realize how significant and blessed I am to bear the name of my dad. Of course, growing up my dad was Pablo and I was Pablito. When I began first grade my name was unceremoniously changed to Paul. Some might ask, what’s the difference. There is a huge difference because our names reflect more than a means to get our attention, they are how we identify who we are in a much deeper way.
Is it not interesting that in today’s Gospel we hear of the very bold and untraditional struggle to name the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth John not Zechariah? We should also take into consideration that beside Jesus, John was the only person to be given a first name by God. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah to tell him he and Elizabeth would have a child he told him to name his son John. Why? And how did Elizabeth know this if Zechariah was unable to speak? Questions that divert our attention away form the fact that God chose his name. God had his reasons. Among them we could consider that the name of John would be identified with the final prophet who urged everyone to get ready for the coming of the Lord. The one who said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” One day I hope that when people think of my name, they remember not who I was as much as what I did with my life. When I think of John, John the Baptist, I think of simple man who prepared many for the coming of our Lord. What will we do in our lives that will make people remember us? What will God think when he calls us home? Our names are much more than a name tag!
Action of the Day: Ponder how you will be rembered when people say, “you remember what’s his or her name?” There is still time to ensure that when you are spoken of they will how much you love them. May that memory be filled with the desire to follow the loving voice of our Sheperd, Jesus Christ.