Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15
Luke 1:57-66, 80
The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
Immediately his mouth was opened. (Luke 1:64)
Like most births, the birth of John the Baptist is more about the parents than the child. It’s a story about God’s grace and human faith overoming doubt. Zechariah and the Virgin Mary reacted similarly when the angel Gabriel announced what was going to happen. They both asked, “How can this be?” But they asked with different attitudes.
Mary’s was a sincere question. She wanted to understand the mind of God. Zechariah’s question was more of a challenge arising from doubt. It’s as if he told the angel, “It just isn’t going to happen; my wife is too old.”
But that’s not the end of the story. Zechariah’s doubts began to fade when Elizabeth became pregnant. They subsided even more when he heard that the baby leapt in his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s greeting. Zechariah saw these things, and he was changed.
When the baby was born, Zechariah named him John, the name the angel gave him. Then, filled with the Holy Spirit, Zechariah broke out in song and blessed God. Then turning to his newborn son, he said, “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” (Luke 1:76-77).
If that’s not a transformation from doubt to faith, then what is?
We are all like Zechariah. We all tend to favor limited human logic over trust in God’s promises and his power. Most of us do not expect to see miracles. Deep inside we say, “It just isn’t going to happen.” But Jesus wants us to believe in miracles and to be open to their possibilities. What Jesus told Thomas, he wants to tell all of us: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29).
So expect miracles. Start small, and see how your faith grows. The next time you go to Mass, for instance, ask God to give you a deeper sense of peace and confidence in him. That’s a miracle, isn’t it? Slowly but surely, you’ll find miracles happening all around you!
“Jesus, I believe in miracles.”~WAU