Today the Church gives us two stories of men whose births were announced by an angel, Samson and John the Baptist. There are many similarities between the two, as the readings show us. In the first reading from Judges 13, the angel of the Lord appears to Samson’s mother (whose name is never mentioned in the Scriptures) and tells her that her son “is to be consecrated to God from the womb.” In the Gospel from Luke 1, the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and tells him that his wife, Elizabeth, shall bear a son that “will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.”
Zechariah questions Gabriel, and is punished by being made mute. Imagine that! Here this guy receives a message from Gabriel himself, and now he can’t tell anyone about it! I’ve often wondered about this punishment. Why close the guy’s mouth? I mean, after all, when something miraculous happens to us, shouldn’t we be shouting it from the rooftops? Well, maybe not so much. We often saw Jesus telling those whom He had cured not to tell anyone. Mostly they ignored that and told anyone who would listen.
I think that sometimes it is best if we keep our mouths shut. There are most certainly times where we need to shout from the rooftops. But there are also other times where we need to just let the witness of our lives speak for us. Maybe sometimes in our unbridled enthusiasm the message may get lost. Perhaps some won’t understand the fact that God has spoken to us. I’m sure God knows that there are times when being speechless is the right way to go.
Father, help us to know those times when we simply need to keep our mouths shut, to just walk the walk and let our actions speak for us, for you. Amen.