John the Baptist’s birth heralds the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New. Those who were full of speech and of words will become silent. Those Pharisees and Scribes, the teachers of the Law, they will all become silent and mute as the Voice begins to speak. John the Baptist is the Voice, and his birth gives voice to those who who had lost hope. Zechariah’s first word after his long silence is “John.” This name means “Yahweh’s graciousness.” Zechariah’s silence of hopelessness is finally broken when he speaks over his son the grace of God. His tongue is untied only to speak God’s grace into the life of his son. God has commanded him to name his son John, and in doing so He liberates Zechariah from the silence induced by his hopelessness and lack of trust.
Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
One of the greatest challenges for someone who has begun to pray regularly is detachment from any measurable effects of prayer. There can be nagging thoughts questioning the quality or effectiveness of our prayer. There could be the longing for something extraordinary to happen while we pray: a great feeling, a vision, extacy, transports of love, a voice, etc. There could be disappointment if the intentions we carried with great fervor are not answered perceptibly. These let downs can exasperate us to the point that we give up on anything beyond rote prayer.