Life is very challenging. Only irresponsible people would miss that point. Some problems are more challenging, because the solution to them does not really depend on us. One of such problems is problems related to child-birth. Both in our first reading and in our gospel, we have a message for two couples who are struggling to have children. The first story has to do with the birth of Samson. In that particular case, the message came with specific instructions and it was followed and a child is born. Praise the Lord.

But the second story is not that easy. What makes it really bad is that Zechariah is a priest in the temple, who should have read the story of Samson. Yet, he showed his intellectual pride, and doubted the message of the angel. He reacted instead of reflecting. Many times, due to our own intellectual pride, we do not give God a chance.

Those who are battling to fall pregnant will tell you, that every single person who discovers that they are struggling to have children will have a perfect solution for it. Whenever I fall sick, almost everybody I meet becomes a doctor. Of course, we can say they love and care. But prescribing medication for people when you are not a qualified doctor is more to satisfy your own intellectual pride than to help a friend. The point is, we talk too much. If someone is telling you about their sickness, do not be quick to offer solutions. The most loving thing to do is to understand how the person feels and be there for him/her. It is okay if there is nothing you can do about it. Just keep quiet.

When the angel Gabriel discovered the intellectual pride of Zechariah, he made him unable to speak until the child is born. This is to allow God to do His work. We can be so busy and so noisy that we do not give the Holy Spirit a chance. Whenever you are about to recommend something to someone who is sick, just bear in mind that you are not the only person who has something to say on the matter. If a sick person meets 10 people, he/she will get 10 different suggestions on what to do. Are we really helping him/her? I have travelled with people who all know the way to where we are going, but we are not really getting there, because each person knows the road differently. Everybody wants to be the one who knows.

The same thing happens when someone dies and instead of waiting for the family members to hear it in a proper way, we quickly take the picture of their murdered brother and display it on Facebook. How will you feel if you opened your Facebook in the morning and the first thing you see is the dead body of your loved one? I am sure there are better ways to break the news. Just because you have heard does not mean you must say it. Just shut up. And when we get to the funeral, we will start giving our opinions on the wonderful reason why the person had to die, just to make ourselves feel good. Just shut up. It is okay not to know. We often think of angels as soft-hearted sissies, but the angel in our gospel today does not take nonsense. If you are so full of your own opinion and what you think about the situation, he will just silence you and open your mouth again when all is said and done.

We can avoid a lot of complications if we just learn to appreciate silence. Many people are not only struggling with their situations, but they also struggle with all the many suggestions they get on how to deal with the situation. In the process of trying to follow all the sugestions, they can land themselves in trouble. Your loving sugestions can ruin people’s lives. This is especially true on medical issues. When people are sick, allow the doctors to treat them. If you are not a doctor, stop acting like one. In my life as a priest, I have met many people who understand my job better than I do, and I wonder how they manage to do that. I wish the Archangel Gabriel can pay many of us a visit.

It is said that most road accidents can be reduced if this kind of seatbelt is introduced 1545197756153331807014.jpg

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