Zechariah is miraculously healed of his muteness when he confirms the name of John the Baptist’s at his circumcision. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building in the Virtue of Faith so he can hate the sin of disbelief and grow in faith and by growing in the Virtue of Truth so he can know and heroically proclaim Christ’s Truth.
After the Annunciation, the Blessed Virgin Mary, almost certainly led and protected by St. Joseph, made the dangerous 80 mile journey to the hill country of Judea to be with her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth who is six months pregnant. The Blessed Virgin Mary, the “handmaiden of the Lord”, remained with the Elizabeth for the final trimester of her pregnancy to comfort and perhaps assist in the birth of John the Baptist; Scriptures do not record if the Blessed Virgin Mary (and St. Joseph) were present at John’s circumcision.
After being barren her entire life and now past child-bearing age, Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy and the strange and sudden muteness of her husband Zechariah, caused by his disbelief when the Archangel Gabriel announced Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Lk 1:20), attracts great interest among the nearby villagers. When St. John the Baptist is born, it is both mysterious and a cause of great rejoicing among the people.
On the eighth day, consistent with the requirements of the Law, Zechariah, as male head of the household, fulfills his duty to have his son circumcised. When asked what the child’s name will be, Elizabeth, who had been informed by the mute Zechariah through gestures, speaks for him, saying, “…he shall be called John” (Hebrew, meaning “God is gracious”). Skeptical, and perhaps shocked, that Elizabeth has spoken for Zechariah, for it was the father’s sacred duty to name the child during the circumcision rite, those present turn to Zechariah, and are astonished when he confirms the child will indeed be called John, by writing John’s name. Immediately, Zechariah miraculously regains his speech and praises God, causing great fear among the neighbors. Even though still a newborn, John causes great commotion throughout the hill country as people wonder, “What then will this child be?”
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Jesus, the Son of God, is born into royal human lineage and has absolute Dominion over Creation with the Father and Holy Spirit. Marvel how the Divine King exercises His perfect Leadership by causing the miraculous birth and preparation of one of His key men, St. John the Baptist, who will be the long-awaited prophet who vehemently announces Christ’s public ministry (Lk 3).
Hate the sin of disbelief and grow in faith
Realize: While the consequences for the Mortal Sin of Disbelief in everyday life are less obvious than the muting of Zechariah, every man bears the loss of God’s grace for disbelief.
Believe: Reflect upon Faith (CCC 26, 142-143, 150, 1814-1816, 2087-2089).
Pray: St. Zechariah, Father of St. John the Baptist, pray that I might grow in the Virtue of Faith so I never fall into doubt or disbelief, I always have an unwavering confidence in God’s Divine Providence and His love for me, and I unconditionally accept God’s grace in all aspects of my life.
Know and heroically proclaim Christ’s Truth
Realize: The people wonder, “What then shall this child be?” The answer is given 30 years later: John the Baptist will be the fearsome “Prophet of the Most High”, the greatest prophet who prepares the way for Christ; heroic martyr, John the Baptist will be murdered by the adulterous and incestuous King Herod for proclaiming the truth about the sanctity of marriage.
Believe: Reflect upon John the Baptist (CCC 486, 523, 535, 608, 678, 696, 717-720, 1223).
Pray: St. John the Baptist, pray that I build the Virtue of Truth (a part of Justice) so I strive to know Christ’s Truth and I always fearlessly imitate your heroic example by proclaiming the Truth of Christ, even in the face of disinterest, disgust, and persecution.