Saturday 1 November 2014

23 December - Season of Advent

When a person comes to us with an important message, some of us may think that the person is lying or joking. Not many of us would take the person's word for it and some of us may brush it off as nonsense. But what if an angel of the Lord were to come and give us a message? Perhaps some of us would take heed of what the angel tells us, but not everyone would do so. One such person who did not entirely believe in the angel's message was Zechariah. Poor Zechariah... He was an old man, and his wife Elizabeth too was getting old. Perhaps he was not fully aware of who he was talking to, perhaps he was quite taken aback by the message from the angel Gabriel and did not quite understand, comprehend or know what to make of such a startling message. After all, humanly speaking, Zechariah may have thought that it was impossible for old people to conceive. But as we now know from hindsight, angels don't just simply come to you to have a chat. When they come with a message, it is not something to be taken lightly and is certainly no laughing matter, what more if the message is from the angel Gabriel. And because of his apparent hesitance in believing the message of the angel Gabriel, Zechariah ended up being silenced till John the Baptist was born.

In today's Gospel, John the Baptist was born. A miracle had happened. Even old people could conceive, as nothing is impossible to God. When it came to naming the child, his mother insisted in naming him John. This prompted Zechariah with the opportunity to redeem himself, so to speak, by affirming and insisting that the child be named John. And when he did so, "his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God."

Sometimes our disbelief and doubts could get us into trouble, just as what had happened to Zechariah. Of course, this does not mean that we should start believing every Tom, Dick or Sally who comes to us with a message. But if we are aware of the presence of God's angel coming to us with a message, let us not doubt or be hesitant, but believe and give thanks to God for the message given to us. And let us seriously take heed of the message, with trust and confidence in God's providence.

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