Elizabeth is the aged and barren woman, unfruitful, who could bear no child. Zechariah is the aged high priest, unfaithful and, therefore, dumb—unable to produce the word. Yet by the Divine Mercy of God, Elizabeth in her lowliness and shame was made fruitful, and Zechariah at the revelation of this fruit not only spoke, but prophesied. And from God through them came St. John the Baptist, ‘the boundary between the two testaments, the old and the new.’ (St. Augustine) He came to prepare the way of the Lord by preaching repentance, by calling Israel to prepare their own hearts for God by repentance, by turning back to God so that He could convert them. This conversion is not merely a change in attitude, perspective, or thought. It is a transfiguration into the fullness of life, so that the very life and Spirit of God lives in us, loves through us, speaks through us, and transforms us into saints who think, see, and act as God does—with His power and mercy and grace.
And St. John the Baptist bridges the gap between the old and the new, between ‘the law [which] was given through Moses’ and ‘grace and truth [which] came through Jesus Christ.’ For: ‘No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.’ (John 1:17-18) And Jesus the Son of God is revealed through the young and fruitful Virgin, and through Her faith is made manifest the fruit of the Father’s love for us: His Word, the salvation of mankind. Let us then daily convert, and turn: Turn to Mary and Jesus! Cast off your fear, let the Spirit rid you of your shame! Leap for joy at the voice of Mary as John did in the womb, and cast your cares and sins and troubles on the Word Mary bears. For: ‘The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ (1 Timothy 1:15) And ‘from His fulness and we all received, grace upon grace.’ (John 1:16)