• In chapters 1 and 2 of his Gospel, Luke describes the announcement of the birth of two little ones, John and Jesus, who will occupy a very important place in the realization of God’s project. What God begins in the Old Testament, begins to be realized through them.
[quote]This is why, in these two chapters, Luke presents or recalls many facts and persons of the Old Testament and even succeeds in imitating the style of the Old Testament.
And all this in order to suggest that with the birth of these two little boys history completes a round of 180 degrees and the time of the fulfilment of the promises of God begins through John and Jesus, and with the collaboration of their parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah and Mary and Joseph.
• There is a certain parallelism between the announcement and the birth of both children:
a) The announcement of the birth of John (Lk 1, 5-25) and of Jesus (Lk 1, 26-38)
b) The two mothers who are pregnant meet and experience the presence of God (Lk 1, 27-56)
c) The birth of John (Lk 1, 57-58) and of Jesus (Lk 2, 1-20)
d) The circumcision in the community of John (Lk 1, 59-66) and of Jesus (Lk 2, 21-28)
e) The canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1, 67-79) and the canticle of Simeon with the prophecy of Anna (Lk 2, 29-32)
f) The hidden life of John (Lk 1, 80) and of Jesus (Lk 2, 39-52)
• Luke 1, 57-58: Birth of John the Baptist. “The time came for Elizabeth to have her child and she gave birth to a son. When her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had lavished on her his faithful love, they shared her joy”. Like so many women of the Old Testament Elizabeth was sterile: Just like God had pity on Sarah (Gn 16, 1; 17, 17; 18, 12), on Rachel (Gn 29, 31) and on Anna (1 Sm 1, 2.6.11) transforming the sterility into fecundity, in the same way he had pity on Elizabeth and she conceived a son. Elizabeth hid herself during five months. When after, the five months, people could see in her body God’s goodness toward Elizabeth, all rejoiced with her.
This community environment, in which all got involved in the life of others, both in joy as in sorrow, is the environment in which John and Jesus are born, grew and received their formation. Such an environment marks the personality of a person for the whole life;
[quote]* [size=2]and it is precisely this community environment that we lack most today*[/size]
• Luke 1, 59: To give the name on the eighth day. “On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child and they wanted to call him Zechariah as his father”. The involvement of the community in the life of the family of Zechariah, Elizabeth and John is such that the relatives and neighbours even want to interfere in the choice of the name of the child. They want to give the child the name of his father: Zechariah!” Zechariah means: God has remembered. Perhaps they wanted to express their gratitude to God for having remembered Elizabeth and Zechariah and for having given them a son in their old age.
• Luke 1, 60-63: His name is John! Elizabeth intervenes and she does not permit the relatives to take care of the question of the name. Recalling the announcement of the name made by the angel to Zechariah (Lk 1, 13), Elizabeth says: "No! He will be called John”.
CONT. NEXT POST