"I was sent to...bring you this good news." —Luke 1:19
"Each man speaks from his heart's abundance" (Lk 6:45). Zechariah's words to the angel give evidence that his heart did not trust God. He possibly felt that God turned a "deaf ear" to his decades-long prayers for a child. Thus, when the angel Gabriel announced that God had heard his prayers (Lk 1:13), the doubt and lack of trust that filled his heart flowed naturally out of his mouth. For his lack of trust in God's messenger, Zechariah was struck mute (Lk 1:20, 22) and deaf (Lk 1:62). He thought God was deaf to his prayers; now he learned that he was the deaf one.
Zechariah couldn't hear or speak, so he had to rely on his sight. What he saw was the undeniable answer to his prayers growing daily in Elizabeth's womb. This priest, who surely had meditated on the Scriptures his entire life, pondered the goodness of God and the truth of the words spoken to him by the angel Gabriel. His reflection led him to realize that his pre-born son would indeed "go before the Lord to prepare" His way (see Lk 1:17, 76).
Zechariah could have been bitter at being deprived of speech and hearing, but he prepared well during his nine-month "Advent" wait. When he completed his obedience to the angel's prophecy by naming his son John (Lk 1:13, 63), his mouth and ears were opened. His first words to speak after more than nine months were spoken to bless God (Lk 1:64). Zechariah's subsequent prophecy (Lk 1:67-79) gave evidence as to how he spent his "Advent" preparing his heart. Be like Zechariah. Use the rest of Advent to ponder the goodness of God and prepare for Christ's coming at Christmas.
Prayer: "Change my heart, O God. May I be like You."
Promise: "Joy and gladness will be yours." —Lk 1:14
Praise: "O Flower of Jesse's stem, You have been raised up as a Sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in Your presence; the nations bow down in worship before You. Come, let nothing keep You from coming to our aid."
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014
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