“Do not be afraid Zechariah for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness.” (Luke 1:13-14).
Just as an Angel appeared to the wife of Manoah (in today’s first reading) to inform her that despite her barrenness, she would have a son, an Angel appeared to Zechariah (in our Gospel passage) with the same news. Nevertheless, their reactions to the Angelic apparitions were different. These two experiences are highlighted before us today to show us that faith is a choice. Two persons may be passing through the same situation in life, but what becomes of them eventually depends on their faith (their attitude towards the situation).
Zechariah must have prayed very hard when he was younger. But as he and his wife advanced in age, he must have reached a conclusion that God is no longer interested in answering his prayer. This perhaps was the reason he doubted the Angel. Am I also a Zechariah of some sort? Have I prayed and prayed for something for such a long time to the extent that I have become tired of praying? Could it be that I no longer believe it is possible for God to answer? When God wants to do something great in your life, He does it in a way that He alone takes all the credit at the end of the day. As the saying goes, God’s time is the best. Tough times don’t last but tough people do. What makes us tough is our persistent faith. God may be silent now but even in his silence, He is working out something much bigger than you can ever imagine.
To rephrase the words of the Angel, “do not be Afraid”. Re-awaken your faith, begin to trust again, let your delayed prayers become an opportunity to trust less in yourself and in your own abilities that you may know that God alone deserves all the credit for everything good in your life. Zechariah’s power of speech was taken from him until that which was prophesied unto him became a reality. What does this teach us? That even though we have freedom of speech, what we say with our mouths matters a lot. We must be careful of proclaiming negativity with our lips especially when we are going through trials and tribulations.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, revive my drooping spirit. Amen. Bible Study: Judges 13:2-25, Psalm 71:3-17 and Luke 1:5-25).