23RD DECEMBER 2021
BELIEVING IN THE MIDST OF CONFUSION
MALACHI 3:1-4, 23-24 PSALMS 25:4-5,8-10,14 LUKE 1:57-66
Today’s Gospel reading that talks about the birth of John the Baptist is traced back to the promise and involvement of God in the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth, John’s parents who were too old to have children and we know that Zechariah found it unbelievable that at their age they could get a child and this made him ask for a proof from the angel who had been sent to him by God.
We are mentioning this context because it seems to have actually startled Zechariah to the point of insisting on being given the proof about God’s promise but he later believed in the angel’s explanation to the point of telling people that indeed the child’s name will be John just as the angel told him.
Where did Zechariah get this belief that he even expressed it in writing since he could not speak at the moment? His belief also affirms Elizabeth’s belief that had been disputed by neighbours and relatives when she told them that the child would be called John.
Did Zechariah believe because Elizabeth his wife believed in the angel’s message? Did he believe because probably Elizabeth had told him about Mary’s visit and her song of joy and praise, The Magnificat, and in it she saw the reality of the song and shared it with him? Did he believe because he wanted to gain back his voice that he had lost due to unbelief? Did he believe because he was a priest and it would have been a bad picture for him not to believe yet he used to minister in the Temple in the presence of God?
Did he believe because while unable to speak, due to unbelief, he had moments of silence that he never used to have before and these moments enabled him to reflect on the angel’s message and make a decision about it; a decision that he would live in and with forever? Why did he believe? Why do we believe and what makes us believe in instances that at first we did not believe in?
As we reflect on how Zechariah came into faith, we learn that when God gets involved in our lives things always take turns we had not anticipated and this is geared towards making us believe.
God’s involvement in our lives may be confusing and may appear untenable and unbelievable, it may be overwhelming or misunderstood but in all these we see that we cannot prevent God’s intentions about us from being achieved. We gain this faith by reflecting on what surrounds our faith knowing very well that unreflected faith is not worth living.
Along with the wonder, awe and excitement that comes to those who witness God’s activity in their lives also comes a bit of confusion, misunderstanding, and being overwhelmed because as things work out in ways we never expected just as Zechariah never expected God to intervene in his life, we get to see clearly what God does.
Zechariah’s faith did not come easily. It came through God surprising him in his old age and doing the unexpected for him which makes him confused and in all these he believes in what he had earlier denied.
Do moments of silence in our noisy world that also makes our minds think of many things offer us the chance to think of one important thing in our faith and in our lives generally that needs to be understood, accepted and lived and could be the turning point that you need?