The Office of Stewardship
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
On Monday, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist. St. John the Baptist has been given a high honor in the Church by the fact that he has two feast days in the Liturgical Calendar. The company he keeps is small–to my knowledge only Mary, Joseph, Jesus and John the Baptist have more than one feast day in the calendar.
As I was in front of Jesus, present in the Eucharist, I pondered the story of St. John’s birth and circumcision. It occurred to me for the first time that Mary was likely present as Elizabeth and Zechariah’s neighbors and relatives gathered to celebrate the birth and circumcise and name the child. And therefore, Jesus was there as well, although in a hidden way. And I have no reason to doubt, given that we know how the presence of Jesus and Mary had affected Elizabeth and the unborn John when they arrived, that their presence had an effect here as well (see Luke 2:39-45). I imagine it was a bit contentious — the crowd stating that his name would be Zechariah and Elizabeth boldly stating that his name would be John. From where did she draw the courage to speak to the crowd? Clearly, they didn’t accept her proclamation, courageous as it might have been, as they first questioned her and then turned to Zechariah for confirmation. And when he confirmed her witness, his mouth was opened and “he spoke, blessing God.” (Luke 1:66)
I would like to think that Jesus and Mary, by their very presence, brought peace and banished fear in this situation; that they inspired Zechariah in his praise of God and His goodness. At least this is the impression I was given as I stared at the Monstrance, where Jesus is also present in a hidden way. Because these are certainly the gifts I receive most often in Eucharistic Adoration: a peace which the world cannot give, a calming of my fears, courage to follow more closely as His disciple and a desire to offer praise and thanksgiving for His Love and His goodness to us.
During this Year of the Eucharist, may we all find our way to Him, truly present and yet hidden, but waiting to share His love and His peace with each one of us.
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