Zechariah and Eddie Vedder in the Desert

So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. (Luke 1:62-64)

Zechariah probably qualifies as the most famous priest in the Bible. Perhaps all we priests should take note how Zechariah spent so much time completely mute.

And all husbands maybe should note this: The boy’s name? It’s what she said.

The coming of Christ, however, loosens tongues. Faith bears witness. As we pray at every Mass during this final week of Advent: St. John the Baptist was born “to sing of Christ’s coming.”

We can only imagine the quality of the holy prophet’s singing voice. Any ideas what modern singer might have a voice like St. John the Baptist had?

Johnny Cash? Ray Charles? Roy Orbison? Placido Domingo? Springsteen?

I say Eddie Vedder.

Walkin’ to the South outta Ro’noke…

__

Not long ago my jaw dropped, flabbergasted that the people with whom I was talking had never heard of Eddie Vedder. “But his voice is the voice of the 90’s!” That is, except for Darius Rucker.

The Darius-Rucker country renaissance leaves me amazed and full of divine praises. Who ever could have imagined? Thank you, Lord, for surprises.

…Plus, check out the Duck Dynasty dudes.

The Baptist’s Song

As we approach Christmas, we pray in the preface to the Eucharistic Prayer about St. John the Baptist.

Perhaps you have noticed a small but notable change in the translation. The old Sacramentary had it that John the Baptist was “Christ’s herald.”

True enough; beautiful enough. But now, with the new translation, we pray that St. John “sang of Christ’s coming.”

The Christ appeared on earth, and the holy prophet sang. Locusts in his belly, camel hair around his waist, the Jordan River rushing by, and the desert wind blowing: he sang.

Can we not imagine that the Baptist sang with everything Johnnie Cash, Roy Orbison, Placido Domingo, Ray Charles, and Eddie Vedder all have to offer in their voices—rolled into one masculine melody on the wind?

The coming of Christ moves those who recognize Him to break out into song. Could be a Tallis Scholars song, or a Pogues song, a hymn, a chant, a warble. Joy and love sing.

Many beauties of the earth touch the undying, simple perfection of heaven—but to sing does so in a uniquely immediate way.

God rest ye merry. Baby Jesus comes tomorrow night. It will be time to sing.