24.12.10 PROPHECY

Posted under Reflections on December 23rd, 2010 by

Then Zechariah his father, filled with the holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:  "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people.  He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant,  even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old: salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that, rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship him in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.  And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace." (Lk 1:67-79)



As soon as the speech was returned to Zachariah he prophesied. His prophesies have the following elements. In the prophecy Zachariah blesses God first. Blessing God is the essential element in the prophecy. God is the first and the basis of prophecy. Prophecy is in the name of God. Primacy of God is important.


God is blessed because he has been with the people and he saved the people. God’s presence and his salvific action is another important element in the prophecy. Salvation is from enemies and this done so because God has promised this from the days of Abraham and continued in the days of David and so on. Salvation is historical and factual in time and space and for people.


The child that is born (John the Baptist here and every child in its turn) is called to proclaim this salvation and continue announce this salvation to all the people through forgiveness.  Prophecy is also to announce the mercy of God to all the people who are in darkness and thus the people are led in the path of peace.


Posted under Reflections on December 22nd, 2010 by

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.  (Lk 1:57-66)



Naming the child is important. Name reveals the character of the individual. Name reveals the mission of the individual. In fact, the biblical people believed that name was everything for the person. To know the name of a person is to have control over the person. The biblical people prayed through the name of God to receive favours.


Name also showed the link with the past. The Israelites gave a name that had some link with the past. This was to show that he belongs to a family to the tribe etc. Name made an individual, historical, social and not just an individual hanging in the air. A person has to belong to someone or somewhere.


When the child was named John all the people wondered at it. As soon as the name of the child was written on a tablet a miracle takes place. This reveals that the name had some divine element attached to it. So they wondered “what this child would be”. For the child had something to do with God or God had done something for this child. For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.

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