Hopefully you know the backstory to today’s gospel – it comes from Luke 1:5-25. Here are the highlights: Zechariah, a Levite called to priestly duty in the Temple in Jerusalem, has his own “Annunciation” while offering sacrifice in the Holy of Holies. He is told that he and his wife Elizabeth, in their old age, are to become parents – as it turns out, parents of the Herald of the Messiah, John the Baptist. Zechariah doubts the message of the angel Gabriel.
But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time (Luke 1:20)
And now we move to the scene eight days after the birth of the child, in the midst of the Jewish celebration to name the child… and a kind of comedy of errors.