Zechariah is miraculously healed of his muteness when he confirms the name of John the Baptist’s at his circumcision. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building in the Virtue of Faith so he can hate the sin of disbelief and grow in faith and by growing in the Virtue of Truth so he can know and heroically proclaim Christ’s Truth. 

Commentary

Despite both Zechariah and Elizabeth being born into the holy lineage of Jewish priests, Zechariah devoutly fulfilling his religious obligations as a priest, and both Zechariah and Elizabeth living blameless lives before God, Elizabeth was barren throughout her child-bearing years, and is now elderly and unable to conceive a child. In the Jewish culture which rejoiced in children and often blamed a person’s sins for barrenness, Elizabeth’s inability to conceive a child was both a heartache and a source of shame.  

While it was extremely rare to be called to offer incense and prayers in the inner Temple, the Holiest of Holies, Zechariah is mysteriously chosen by lot to perform the sacred duties. The Archangel Gabriel, one of the seven archangels who minister in the presence of God (Rev 8:2), and who last appeared to Daniel, 600 years earlier to announce the future Messiah (Dan 9:21-27), now appears to Zechariah in the Temple. Initially full of overwhelming fear by the supernatural grandeur of the Archangel, Zechariah is commanded by Gabriel, to “not be afraid.” 

Gabriel reveals that Zechariah and the barren Elizabeth’s prayers have been heard and they will miraculously bear a son. Consistent with other miraculous interventions by God to allow barren women to conceive sons who play a critical role in Israel (Isaac, Jacob, and Samuel are all born to previously barren women), Gabriel reveals that Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son will be remarkable for he will be “great”, “filled with the Holy Spirit” and act with the “spirit and power of Elijah (a revered prophet).”  Because Gabriel quotes the prophet Malachi (Mal 4:5-6), Zechariah, a priest who is well-versed in Scripture, recognizes his son will be the long-awaited prophet who will help prepare Israel to receive the Messiah, the one who will deliver Israel.

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be awed by how Jesus prepares the world for His Incarnation: Person of the Trinity,  Jesus is with the Father and the Holy Spirit before Creation and creates the whole order of Angels, including the fearsome Archangel Gabriel; Divine Power, Jesus has Authority over the powerful and frightening Archangel Gabriel and commands Gabriel to go to Zechariah and announce the miraculous conception of his only son, St. John the Baptist.

Hate the sin of disbelief and grow in faith

Realize: While the consequences for the Mortal Sin of Disbelief in everyday life are less obvious than the muting of Zechariah, every man bears the loss of God’s grace for disbelief. 

Believe: Reflect upon Faith (CCC 26, 142-143, 150, 1814-1816, 2087-2089).

Pray: St. Zechariah, Father of St. John the Baptist, pray that I might grow in the Virtue of Faith so I never fall into doubt or disbelief, I always have an unwavering confidence in God’s Divine Providence and His love for me, and I unconditionally accept God’s grace in all aspects of my life. 

Know and heroically proclaim Christ’s Truth

Realize: John the Baptist was the fearsome “Prophet of the Most High”, the greatest prophet among the great prophets of Israel, who prepared the way for Jesus; heroic martyr, John the Baptist was murdered by the adulterous and incestuous King Herod for proclaiming the truth about the sanctity of marriage. 

Believe: Reflect upon John the Baptist (CCC 486, 523, 535, 608, 678, 696, 717-720, 1223).

Pray: St. John the Baptist, pray that I build the Virtue of Truth (a part of Justice) so I strive to know Christ’s Truth and I always fearlessly imitate your heroic example by proclaiming the Truth of Christ, even in the face of disinterest, disgust, and persecution.