Recently we reflected upon the meaning of the silence of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. We drew attention to the fact that it can be important to enter into physical silence in order to be able to listen more attentively to the voice of the Holy Spirit. In today’s Gospel we discover that Zechariah has been given his voice back at the birth of his son.

The first words that come from his lips are words of praise! Following these words comes the great prophecy of Zechariah, commonly known as the Benedictus. The Benedictus is sung every day in the prayer of the Church at Lauds. This is a constant reminder to us of the perpetual nature of the gift of the Son of God to the world. It is not enough for Jesus to be born just once! He must daily be born into each of our lives and we must allow His presence to lead and guide us in god’s will.

The nine months of Zechariah’s silence allowed him to reflect closely upon the meaning of his silence. His initial lake of trust or belief in God’s word to him is now transformed into an implicit faith and trust in the gift of a Saviour who will be born of the Virgin Mary in a few months time.

Another factor that is important to note in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, is the constant reminder to the reader that all of these events fall directly under the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of the various individuals involved. This should give us great hope as we have all received the Holy Spirit at Baptism, and thus it is theoretically possible and highly probable that God has a work for each of us to do in bringing the message of the birth of the Saviour of the world to all people.

Will we be like the first Zechariah and doubt the ability of God to use us in His plan of salvation or will we entrust our lives to Him from the start?

What are the things or areas of my life in which I find it most difficult to believe in God? How can I grow in faith to overcome this struggle?

Holy Spirit, you have worked in the lives of many, many people down through the centuries, even millennia of human existence and even before that! Help me to trust that you continue to desire to do this and that you want to use me to bring the Gospel to others.