Posted by: livingscripture | December 19, 2014


From the Word of the Day

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.  Then Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this?  For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years’.  And the angel said to him in reply, ‘I am Gabriel, who stand before God.  I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.  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: 5-25) 

How should we live this Word Zechariah

Today’s Advent Gospel is another invitation to deepen our faith, presenting to us the figure of Zechariah in a particular moment of his priestly life, characterized by a crisis of faith.

As he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God, the Angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard.”  Instead of receiving the Word of God with faith and joy, he shows pessimistic skepticism, “How shall I know this?  For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”  This is so strange!  Zechariah is an upright priest, who scrupulously observes all the laws and prescriptions of the Lord, and yet his faith seems to waver and he does not believe or hope any more.  The angel scolds him, “You did not believe my words.”  To accept God’s plan, it is no longer sufficient to observe the laws and prescriptions.  There is the need to go beyond, to make a leap of pure faith that abandons self totally to God.  Because of this lack of faith, Zechariah must undergo a new trial that should cure his incredulity.  He will be speechless until the fulfillment of the Lord’s Word.

The speechlessness which Zechariah must experience because of his unbelief, symbolically recapitulates all the lack of faith of the ancient people of Israel, personified in this priest of the mosaic cult.  It is also the synthesis of all the incredulity of Christians of our times, including our own.  In fact, many forms of spiritual speechlessness and of the heart’s aphasia that close us in on ourselves are the fruit of our incapacity to believe and to be awed before the marvels God works in the history of salvation.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will ask the Lord to cure me of my heart’s aphasia so that I may always praise and glorify Him for his powerful Love. 

My God, I praise You for all the wonders of Your Love!

The voice of the Collect of today’s Liturgy 

O God, through the child-birth of the Virgin You have revealed to the world the splendour of Your glory.  Grant that Your people may venerate with a lively faith and celebrate with sincere love, the great mystery of the Incarnation.


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Comment by Fr. Fernando Bergamelli, SDB

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