Zechariah in the Temple

“In the days of King Herod” the Angel Gabriel came to the priest Zechariah as he comes into the temple bearing incense to worship the Lord. The angel appears next to the altar of incense, where we expect an angel to be. “Your prayer has been heard,” the angel says to the old priest. “Your wife will bear you a son.”

Surely, the old priest no longer prayed for a son. Childbearing was over for his wife and him. The promise of new life was long gone. He had no  hope for a child.

But the angel promises a child “great in the eyes of the Lord” to be called John, who would more than fulfill their hopes, turning “many of the children of Israel to their God.”

The old priest doubts and is punished with silence. He can’t speak. Only after the child is born does he speak again, as he announces to those at his birth that “his name is John.”

You lose your voice when you lose hope in God’s promises. You get it back  when you believe.When John is born, Zechariah sings a song of praise at God’s unexpected  gift.

The Communion Prayer for today’s Mass says: “As we give thanks, almighty God, for these gifts you have bestowed, graciously arouse in us, we pray, the desire for those yet to come.”

Never doubt the gifts God wants to give you, Zechariah tells us. Doubt silences us. God’s gifts give us a voice.

Readings here.


Filed under Passionists, Religion

2 responses to “Zechariah in the Temple

  1. Thank God for Mary’s courage. When I was a young girl of 14 or 15, as her
    age is said to have been, and an angel appeared to me I would been terrified
    and probably have looked for some place to hide. From what little I knew then
    about unwed pregnancy, mostly spoken of in hushed or whispered voices, I knew it was not a good or acceptable thing, and if I hadn’t found a place to hide and the angel asked me what he asked Mary, I would have said “no!”
    That kind of courage takes a Mary to answer “yes.”

  2. vhoagland

    Great insight, Gloria. When we bring our own experience to the gospels they take on added meaning. Santa Claus is on our Kitchen table. Thanks.

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