Daily Gospel Reflection 6/23/2022
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. (Lk 1:60-66,80)
In today’s reading, Zechariah, John's father, does not follow the tradition of naming his son after himself. We ultimately see Zechariah obedient to the Archangel Gabriel, who, when we read earlier (Lk 1:13), was told to call his son "John." We also read today that Zechariah was handed a tablet to write John's name down, and this was because earlier in the scripture, he had a lack of faith. Because of this, Zechariah was silenced and could not speak. "And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time" (Luke 1:20).
I think we can assume that Zechariah's silence was necessary. Although I must admit my worldly influence kicks in and feels for Zechariah, who will have a child at his older age. "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years" (Lk 1:18). This, of course, leads to Zechariah being silenced by the Angel. As I stated earlier, silence is sometimes necessary, and we must somehow let God's way in. There is truly something to learn from the story of Zechariah and I believe we can all relate to our faith being weak at points in our life.
Once a year, I usually try to go on a Catholic retreat. I find this valuable as it is a time to press reset and step away from the secular world and its challenges. However, if you cannot get away, try to get silent today and hear what the Lord is trying to say. I know we are all very busy with constant distractions but find the time to unplug from the world today even if it is only for a few minutes.
Zechariah's silence is inspiring, and I believe St. John of the Cross beautifully explains the importance of this topic when he writes: "What we need most in order to make spiritual progress is to be silent before this great God, with our appetites and our tongue."