2010 December 23
I’ve been trying to figure out this guy Zechariah. As you probably know, Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist, and the husband of Elizabeth, who happened to be Mary’s cousin. He’s the very first character we meet in the Gospel of St. Luke.
In that opening scene, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in the temple, and Zechariah was told the surprising and wonderful news that his wife Elizabeth was finally pregnant, after enduring years of being called “barren” by their neighbors.
But then he asked: “How can I be sure of this?”
We’re often told that it was his lack of faith that led the angel to strike him mute so that Zechariah was unable to speak until his son was born. But I wonder if that was the only issue. After all, for a devoted Jew like Zechariah, becoming a parent at a late age wasn’t too far-fetched: think Abraham fathering Isaac.