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Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

My dear encountered couples:

Today we hear the story of John the Baptist’s conception: the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. In this reading there are echoes of the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would bear a child. In this reading from Luke, an angel of God appears to Zechariah as he was praying in the sanctuary of God. The angel tells Zechariah that Elizabeth will conceive and bear a son.

Zechariah is very troubled by the angel’s message. Who wouldn’t be? For many years Elizabeth and Zechariah had longed for a child and they had never received that gift. Yet standing before him was an angel telling Zechariah that Elizabeth in her old age would conceive a child! Not only would she bear a child, but the angel also prophesied that this child would be filled with the Holy Spirit! Their son would be a prophet and he would prepare the way for the One who would come!

Naturally, Zechariah was skeptical and he doubted the angel’s message. (He actually may have thought he was going mad!) Zechariah then asked the angel how this was to happen since both he and Elizabeth were long past child-bearing years. The angel did not appreciate Zechariah’s disbelief and skepticism. The angel told Zechariah that since he did not believe the angel’s message, he would be unable to speak until all these happenings came to pass.

If we received a message from an angel, how would we react? Most likely, we also would respond with great disbelief and perhaps wonder if we were crazy! Yet at times in our lives, God indeed does act in strange and fantastic ways. Perhaps when we are disbelieving, we should re-read this Gospel passage. Who knows? Today God may desire to act in strange and wondrous ways in our lives. The question for us is: Will we believe? Will we trust? Will we continue to walk with God? If an angel appears to us, may we pray with Zechariah and Elizabeth! They will “come to our aid!

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