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Today's Gospel + short theological explanation

Advent: December 23th

Gospel text (Lk 1,57-66): When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her and they rejoiced with her. When on the eighth day they came to attend the circumcision of the child, they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, «Not so; he shall be called John» (…). Throughout the Hills of Judea the people talked about these events. All who heard of it pondered in their minds and wondered, «What will this child be?». For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.

John, the Baptist

EDITORIAL TEAM evangeli.net (based on texts by Benedict XVI) (Città del Vaticano, Vatican)

Today, we ask ourselves: "Who will be this child?". His appearance carried with him something completely new: from his conception to his circumcision —with the name of John— to his ministry, everything is unique. John will announce someone Greater than him is to come. He has been sent to prepare the path for this mysterious Other; that his whole mission is directed towards Him.

In the Gospels this mission is described with passages from the Old Testament (Isaiah, Malachi, Exodus): "A voice cries in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord!"; "Behold, I send my messenger, who will prepare thy way”. These ancient words of hope were bought into the present with the Baptist’s preaching: great things are about to unfold.

—At last there was a prophet again, and his life marked Him out as such. God’s hand was at last plainly acting in history again. John baptizes with water, but One even Greater, who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and "fire", is already at the door.