23rd December Advent le 23 décembre l’Avent

“All those who heard it were filled with the fear of God and talked about all these events. They wondered what will this child turn out to be. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.”
Sunday 22 November 2015

Ml.3,1-4 23-24 Ps.24 Lk.1,57-66

23rd December Advent

“The time came for Elizabeth to have her son and she gave birth to a son, and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had lavished on her a faithful love, they shared her joy.”

The Beauty of a beginning with its promise and its reasons for rejoicing - this we can see in the Gospel passage of the birth of John the Baptist. It is fitting that we give thanks and feel this feeing of gratitude.This joy is one that is quite human for the child’s parents and for their neighbours. However the Good News goes further for it leads us foreword and takes us out of ourselves, leading us to true life. By imposing the name on the child, a new freedom breaks forth, for things don’t happen as imagined. The name erupts, it is ’John’ and not Zechariah. This decision comes from the inner Breath of the Spirit between Elisabeth and Zechariah who received this message. This son, whose energy and influence are going to be surprising, brings the announcement of a new world. We understand Elizabeth’s joy, ’God took away my shame’, she said. John the Baptist’s birth prepares the Birth of Jesus. ’ Behold I am going to send you the prophet Elijah, before the Day of the Lord comes. All the neighbours and family are on the look out! In fact this child does announce another child : Mary’s child! We are preparing to welcome John the Baptist, the prophet who is coming to announce Jesus.

"Now it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child ; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ’No’, she said ’he is to be called John.’

’They wanted to call him Zechariah, like his father’“. Zechariah said’ His name is John.” This episode asks an essential question that crosses all our life : it is the question of man’s will faced with God’s will. In all the bible, the name of a living being, quite far from being simply something they are called, represents him altogether. To give a name to someone is to say who he is, and even more to have hold of them. So it is an essential choice. Zechariah and Elizabeth represent the past history of the People of God, and the whole countryside is

there! Today God does admirable things, God wants to renew all things. ’God does grace’ is the name of John, the Mystery of a New Love.

“So what will this child become?’ We need to relearn ’the identity ’ that is the deepest one of our whole being. May we become what we are : the tenderly loved child of our Father.”All those around wjp heard it were taken up by the Fear of the Lord and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judea. All those who heard it began to reflect . They wondered what will this child turn out to be? And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him."

Indeed whilst Zechariah was in office at the Temple of Jerusalem, he had received this message from the angel Gabriel of the promise of a child to come, and he made the precision ’his name will be John.’ Zechariah starts to doubt and will be deprived of the use of speech. His inner freedom is respected and he will confide to Elizabeth another human word so as to let himself be engendered by her a life of faith. Together a new way will open up. We need to take time to let God act in his Love, to respond to our true calling.

The time Elizabeth was to give birth came, and she gave birth to a son. This son is the announcement of a new birth for us, we are just as concerned as Elizabeth’s neighbours and her relations were. They had learned how the Lord had shown great compassion towards her. And they rejoice with her! We to enter into a new Joy already. In Christ we are born again into a new life in finding the beautiful name of ’Christian’ we find here our true identity. Jesus has us enter into a new filiation, making of us who we treuely are.

We ask for the grace to allow ourselves to b purified by this birth so as to be re-born.