“‘What, then, will this child be?'” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

With the celebration of the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist we are privileged to hear proclaimed the story of the birth and circumcision of John the Baptist (Lk  1:57-66, 80).   The birth of John to Elizabeth and Zechariah is a source of great joy for their relatives and friends as Elizabeth bore this child in her later years.  At the time of circumcision, the onlookers suggest that the child be named after his father.  But Elizabeth says he is to be named John and her husband confirms this per the angel Gabriel’s instruction (v. 13).  Upon conveying this information, Zechariah again is able to speak (his initial doubt resulted in him being struck dumb — vv. 18-20) and he immediately blesses God.  These miraculous events cause everyone to have the sentiments conveyed in the headline.  The closing line speaks of John becoming strong in spirit and living in the desert until he begins his public ministry.  For parents to be or parents of young children, the question of the townspeople should be on their lips as well.  What will our child become?  How seriously do we take the responsibility we have in this formation?  Do we seek the Lord’s hand in his life?  Do we consecrate the child to the Lord so that His will be done for him or her?  Will we encourage openness to the priesthood and/or religious life for this gift of God?  As friends and family, will we support the proper formation of this young member of the family of God by word and example?  For those with child, will we show our support for mom and the fruit of her womb, encouraging her to consider “what this child will be”?  The “hand of the Lord” is with every baptized child and will only grow stronger with a solid family life, proper and continuous instruction in the faith, weekly (and more often, if possible) Mass, additional sacraments, and unceasing prayer.  An awesome responsibility belongs to parents as pro-creators with God.  He could do it without us (cf. Lk 3:8) but He doesn’t.  We must rely on Him for His unfailing help, always seeking His will in our lives and the life of the precious gift He has given to parents and to the world.

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