Taste and See: Wait and see

DSC00821a.jpgThe time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother spoke up. ‘No,’ she said ‘he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘But no one in your family has that name’, and made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. The father asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all astonished. At that instant his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All their neighbours were filled with awe and the whole affair was talked about throughout the hill country of Judaea. All those who heard of it treasured it in their hearts. ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ they wondered. And indeed the hand of the Lord was with him.

Meanwhile the child grew up and his spirit matured. And he lived out in the wilderness until the day he appeared openly to Israel.

Gospel for Solemnity of St John the Baptist
Luke 1:57-66,80

Again and again the birth of a child is a joyful moment in the life of a family or community. It awakes hope: it gives a focus to the purpose of the lives of others

Sadly though there are other times. There are times when a child is unwanted and remains uncared for. There are times when the family or community that a child is born into  is so fractured and needy that, despite its best efforts, it is not equal to the responsibility of receiving the new born and helping realise the potential there.

Yet, very often, even in the least opportune of circumstances, people are moved to perform miracle of love for the well-being of a new-born, indeed of any other human person that they see as another human person, one of us, not one of them.

The answer to the question ‘what will this child turn out to be?’ relies very much on the answer to the question ‘what sort of people will we turn out to be?’

Puppets in the Schindler Factory Museum, Krakow, Poland. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

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