Gospel: Lk 1:57-66
When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her.
When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.“ They said to her, “But no one in your family has that name!“ and they made signs to his father for the name he wanted to give him. Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote on it, “His name is John;“ and they were very surprised. Immediately, Zechariah could speak again, and his first words were in praise of God.
A holy fear came on all in the neighborhood, and throughout the hill country of Judea the people talked about these events. All who heard of it, pondered in their minds, and wondered, “What will this child be?“ For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.
Luke often ends a story in his gospel with a question. St. Luke, far from just narrating the events that he remembered about Jesus, wrote his gospel to evoke faith in his audience. He wanted that his stories would trigger their minds and make them aware of God‘s presence in their lives, move their hearts and to profess faith in God. In fact, his methodology is to lead his listeners to prayer.
Going back to the gospel narrative, when Luke poses the questions “What will this child be,“ he wants his listeners to realize that God was present in what they saw; that God is present and working in the life of St. John. The unusual circumstances surrounding his birth made it clear that the hand of the Lord was upon him.
This brings us to the main point of today‘s gospel. To question then is not something that we should avoid or refrain from doing. Questioning is something to be encouraged because it is the beginning of one‘s awareness of things around him, of self discovery and of things outside him. But more than that, questioning our faith, that is, questioning God, is in fact a form of prayer.
Cardinal Tagle, in a recent interview clarified this when he said, there is nothing wrong about questioning God, there is nothing bad about questioning him why this happened to us? Why my son died, why him? Because when done with love, it can be a form of prayer. Let us learn from what the people in today‘s gospel did after they asked the question “what will this child be?“-“They keep everything in their hearts. “May we also keep the message of Christmas in our heart..