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Key words and phrases: she gave birth, called John, hand of the Lord was with him, in the desert, manifestation to Israel
To the point: Everything about John pointed to the unexpected. He was conceived in the womb of an elderly woman. He was not named after his father. He spent his life in the desert rather than in the temple following in the footsteps of his priest-father. His "manifestation to Israel" was not about himself but pointed to Another. As God's chosen ones (see First Reading), everything about us also points to the unexpected: "the hand of the Lord" is upon us, and through us the presence of the Savior is announced (see Second Reading), for God calls us to be "a light to the nations." Yet for God none of this is the unexpected.
To the First Reading: Usually this suffering servant song is applied to Christ. Here, on this solemnity, it is interpreted to apply to John. Further, it applies to us, who are also "called from birth."
To Experience: When a child is born, everyone naturally wonders, "What, then, will this child be?" Even before the birth, parents have hopes and expectations for their child. As with Elizabeth and Zechariah, all must be open to the unexpected that God has in mind for each child given life.