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SILENCE IS GOLDEN

Father Francis's picture
Third Week of Advent

Judges 13:2-7,24-25 & Lk. 1:5-25

The birth of Samson, like John the Baptist’s, was announced by an angel.

Zechariah and Elizabeth knew the sorrow of being childless. In the society in which they lived, children were regarded as a blessing and a sign of God’s favour. Failure to produce children was seen as a curse. This belief was wrong. Why should God curse such devout people as Zechariah and Elizabeth? Zechariah was a priest who served in the temple and both he and his wife lived holy lives.

They had longed for a child. The day came when their prayers were answered. The archangel Gabriel appeared and told Zechariah the incredible good news. But he just didn’t believe it. His wife had never conceived, and now they were both too old to have children. How different he was from Joseph, who believed the impossible when the angel told him Mary had conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. For not believing, Zechariah was punished by being struck dumb.

Elizabeth was overjoyed that her ‘disgrace’ had been removed, but for Zechariah the enforced silence must have seemed to be a severe punishment. Imagine the frustration of being unable to communicate with other people, especially at that particular time. Yet some silence can actually be a blessing. Throughout those nine months Zechariah had an opportunity to ponder on the words of scripture. He must have thought about the prophecies of the coming Messiah. All the clues were there. Everything was falling into place. He remembered the promises made to Abraham, David and the prophets, and he meditated on what the angel had told him. So in his silent contemplation he came to realize that his child was to be the messenger of the Messiah. He must have felt very humble, and at the same time very excited to think that he and Elizabeth were playing an important part in God’s plan.

However busy we are this Advent, we need to find time for silent reflection to ponder on God’s word and recognize that we, too, are part of that wonderful plan. God loves us as His children and He sent His Son Jesus to save each one of us, not just the people of Zechariah’s time. That thought is so awe-inspiring that we need time to take it in.

Heavenly Father, let us make time to ponder, as Zechariah did, on how You prepared our world for the coming of Your Son. In this way our hearts will be ready to receive Your Son this Christmas.

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