BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon



(Lk. 1:5:25)
Fourth Day of Simbang Gabi
In the day’s Gospel it was Zechariah’s turn to receive a visit from an angel to bring the good news that his wife Elizabeth, though old and barren, will conceive a son. Like Mary and Joseph, it was hard to believe. Yet the angel assured him of its truth but not without a consequence as a result of his doubt. He will be rendered speechless until the fulfilment of the message. The son will be named “John” and he will go to prepare the way of the Lord.

Doubts are not wrong by themselves. The reason why we doubt is because of the seeming impossibility of what we are made to believe or accept. Our experience and intelligence tell us that a certain information is doubtful. It is not an irregular reaction. Nor is it a final one. It is a process. As more information comes, enlightenment creeps in. With regards to faith, it is a prelude to a bigger faith. Doubt should lead to a deeper faith.

Zechariah doubted. As a result, he was given a consequence. Mary and Joseph doubted. But they were spared of any consequences. I do not know why. It was God’s choice. As we will know later, it was more than the consequences of the doubt. How about Elizabeth? Well, nothing was told about it so we better let it be. Let us go back to Zechariah. He was made speechless, Probably so he could not anymore spread his doubt. Maybe also to keep the conversation between him and the angel secret. Possibly to inject mystery to his encounter in the Holy of Holies. We know the story. It was not included in this Gospel. The Gospel ends with Elizabeth expressing her faith and gratitude to the Lord for the gift of a child inspite of their situation. We digress for a while and remember one who was known for his doubt – Thomas, called diadems, which mean “twin.” St. Thomas Aquinas (must be in defence of his namesake!) offered that the twin attribute of the apostle Thomas was because he saw one thing but believed another. He saw the humanity of Jesus but believed in His divinity. Thomas saw the risen Jesus but believed in His eternity as God. Thomas’ expression, “My Lord and My God,” was an affirmation of the divinity of Christ which no apostle had done.

Back to Zechariah, he was a priest. Thus, he had access to the most sacred part of the temple. His Jewish faith is unquestionable. He believed that a Messiah will be coming. Thus, when the angel gave the news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, he had to ask the angel for a sign. He did not really belie what the angel said. He was merely asking for help so that when the event comes, he will know it. The sign given was the naming of his son as “John” and the return of his speech. His faith was deepened and proudly proclaimed it in a prayer which we now know as the Canticle of Zechariah.

Let us not be afraid to doubt. As long as we are sincerely looking for answers, doubts will guide us to a deeper understanding of the truth. The Spirit will always be there to enlighten us as far as we can. Signs will be given. Let us be alert of those signs. In the end, when the doubts are answered, more questions may arise. Yet, we must continue to believe. Such is faith. The truth is bigger than us. It is called a mystery. Not because it cannot be known but because it is too much for what our person can know. When that happens, we doubt, seek answers, read the signs, and maintain our faith.


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