Gospel Reflections (Luke 1:57-66. 80)

The birth-stories of John the Baptist and of Jesus are told in such a way as to bring out the parallelism between the two figures, and the special position of each. Of each the parents are models of the fidelity of Israel, and of trust in the Lord. An angel foretells the miraculous birth of each. The birth and naming of each is an occasion of great joy. Both are great, but Jesus is greater: the exalted position of John serves to exalt the position of Jesus even further. John will prepare the way: Zechariah doubts and is struck dumb: Mary humbly enquires and is blessed. John’s name means ‘God is gracious’: Jesus’ name means ‘Saviour’. At the birth of John there is joy in the family: at the birth of Jesus the joy and singing comes from the angels. At the end of today’s passage John goes out into the desert because it was from the desert that the Messiah was expected to come, and John will be the herald voice, crying in the desert in fulfilment of the prophet Isaiah, ‘Make straight his paths’.
John the Baptist went into the desert and his spirit matured. What habits can you start or develop each day, or each week, to be strengthened in spirit?

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