• Today’s Gospel speaks to us about the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Zechariah (Lk 1, 5-25). The Gospel of tomorrow will speak about the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Mary (Lk 1, 26-38). Luke places both of these visits side by side to each other, in such a way that we may read both texts attentively, that we may perceive the small and significant difference between one visit and the other, between the Old and the New Testament. Look for and discover the differences between the visits of the Angel Gabriel to Zechariah and to Mary through the following questions: Where does the Angel appear? To whom does he appear? Which is his message, what does he announce? Which is the response? Which is the reaction of the person after receiving the visit ? Etc.
[quote]• The first message of the Angel of God to Zechariah is: “Do not be afraid!”
Up until now, God still causes fear to many persons and up until now the message continues to be valid, “Do not be afraid!” Immediately the Angel adds: “Your prayer has been heard!” In our life, everything is the fruit of prayer!
• Zechariah represents the Old Testament. He believes, but his faith is weak. After the visit, he remains mute, incapable to communicate with the persons. The manner in which the project of salvation, known by Zechariah, how it had been revealed up to that moment, had exhausted all his resources, while God was initiating a new phase together with Mary.
• In the announcement of the Angel is expressed all the importance of the mission of the child who will be born and who will be called John: “he must drink no wine, no strong drink, even from his mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit”, that is, John will be a person totally consecrated to God and to his mission. “He will bring back many of the Israelites to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him to reconcile fathers to their children and the disobedient to the good sense of the upright, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him”, that is, in the child John will take place the expected return of the Prophet Elijah who will have to come to carry out the reconstruction of community life: to reconcile the heart of the parents to their children and the disobedient toward the wisdom of the just.
• In reality, the mission of John was very important. According to the people, he was a prophet (Mk 11, 32). Many years later, in Ephesus, Paul continued to find persons who had been baptized with the Baptism of John (Acts 19, 3).
• When Elizabeth, being old, conceived and remained pregnant, she hid herself during five months. While Mary, instead of hiding, gets out of her house and goes to serve her.
• What struck you the most in this visit of Angel Gabriel to Zechariah?
• To reconcile the heart of the parents toward their sons, that is, to reconstruct the fabric of human relationship from the basis and to build up the life in community. This was the mission of John. This was also the mission of Jesus and continues to be today the most important mission.
How do I contribute to this mission?