ROME – Pope Francis has said Christians should model the amazement, surprise and gratitude of Elizabeth and Zechariah – and their community – at the birth of their son, John.
“The whole event of the birth of John the Baptist is surrounded by a joyful sense of amazement, surprise and gratitude,” the pope said in his weekly Angelus address in Rome.
“Looking at this, let us ask ourselves: How is my faith? Is it a joyful faith, or is it always the same faith, a ‘flat’ faith? Do I have a sense of amazement when I see the works of the Lord?”
Sunday was the solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist.
In Sunday’s Gospel reading, Elizabeth and Zechariah rejoice at the birth of their son, whom they name John. Elizabeth and Zechariah were past childbearing age, so their community was shocked and amazed by the miracle of John’s birth.
The pope said Elizabeth and Zechariah’s community “immediately understood that something great – although humble and private – had taken place.”
Francis then reflected on the miracle of life. He said married couples act as collaborators of God when they have children; and every child has an imprint of God.
“[It is] a truly sublime mission that makes every family a sanctuary of life and awakens – at every birth of a child – joy amazement and gratitude.”
He also said the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah illustrates God is beyond our imagination.
“God does not depend on our logic and our limited human capacity,” the pope said.
“It is necessary to learn to trust and remain silent before the mystery of God and to contemplate in humility and silence his work, which reveals itself in history and which often surpasses our imagination.”
After praying the Angelus, Francis noted the June 23 beatification in Paraguay of the Carmelite nun Maria Felicia de Jesus Sacramentado. The 20th-century nun is remembered for her enthusiastic service of the elderly, sick and imprisoned. She died at the age of 34.
“Her witness is an invitation to all young people, especially those from Paraguay, to live their lives with generosity, gentleness and joy.”