ELIZABETH, MOTHER OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (Fr. Varghese Paul, SJ)

Like the case of prophetess Anna, only Luke records about Elizabeth and Zechariah the parents of John the Baptist. The name Elizabeth means God is my Oath that is, a worshipper of God.

Elizabeth, as Luke mentions, like her husband from a priestly family. There was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wifes name was Elizabeth; she also belonged to a priestly family (Lk 1,5).

Elizabeth in our parlance was a God-fearing woman. Luke describes her and her husband beautifully: They both lived good lives in Gods sight and obeyed fully all the Lords laws and commands. They had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zechariah were both very old (Lk 1, 6-7).

Elizabeth and Zechariah must have prayed a lot for children. Childlessness or barrenness was considered a curse state by the Jewish people. It must have been very humiliating for Elizabeth because she hailed from a priestly family and she was the wife of a priest.

The Jews believed in promised Messiahs to come. Every Jewish woman dreamed of being the privileged mother of the Messiah. So it must have been very hard for Elizabeth to put up with her own barrenness. Yet with her husband she lived good life and kept all the Lords laws and commandments.

God heard the prayers of the old couple and blessed their longing for a child. While Zechariah was serving in the Most Holy place of the Temple, Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and said, Do not be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. You are to name him John (Lk 1, 13).

In due time Elizabeth became pregnant and did not leave the house for five months (Lk 1, 24).

After six months of her pregnancy the Archangel Gabriel appeared to a virgin named Mary and announced that she would without cohabitation conceive a son by the Holy Spirit. The Archangel also informed Mary that her relative Elizabeth was six months pregnant.

Mary hurried off to the hill country of Judea and reached Zechariahs house and greeted Elizabeth. Luke narrates the story, When Elizabeth heard Marys greeting, the baby moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said in a loud voice, You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lords mother comes to visit me? For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness (Lk 1, 42-44).

The visitation of Mary to her relative Elizabeth and the encounter of two children in their mothers wombs are significant. The two women sought each others company as they have unique secrets to share about their pregnancy. They knew that there is something very exceptional about their pregnancy and the child each one was carrying.

Elizabeth greets Mary with the most honourable name. The Mother of My Lord and Marys response was The Magnificent.

In the due course of time Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy. She wants him to be called John in spite of the protests of her people that she has no relatives with that name (Lk 1, 61).

Zechariah had lost the power of speech when God promised him a child as a sign that Gods promise will be fulfilled. He got his speech back when his people asked him to name the boy and he wrote on tablet, His name is John (Lk 1, 63).

We do not hear about Elizabeth after she gave birth to her son and after his christening. But down the centuries Elizabeth has been a popular name among Christians. Hundreds and thousands of Christian Children and Christian institutions are named after Elizabeth.

અમારો સંપર્ક કરો

ફાધર વર્ગીસ પોલ, એસ.જે.
(ડિરેક્ટર, સી.આઈ.એસ.એસ.)


અમિબેલા બીલ્ડીંગ, સન્માન રેસ્ટોરન્ટ
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