Power of words: Story of Zechariah

Archangel Gabriel made sure Zechariah would not speak defeat by sealing his mouth shut until John the Baptist was born.

Archangel Gabriel made sure Zechari­ah would not speak defeat by seal­ing his mouth shut until John the Bap­tist was born. Pho­to cour­tesy of Flickr

Death and life are in the pow­er of the tongue.

As we begin the Sea­son of the Glo­ri­ous Birth of Our Lord there is a pow­er­ful lesson about the words we speak in Luke’s Gospel about the vis­it of the Angel Gabriel to the priest Zechari­ah.

The Angel Gabriel pro­claimed good news to Zechari­ah, telling the priest that his prayers had been answered and his wife Eliz­a­beth would give birth to a child. This child, John the Bap­tist, would be filled with the Holy Spir­it even in his mother’s womb and would return many sons of Israel back to God.

But instead of rejoic­ing Zechari­ah doubt­ed, say­ing, “How can this be? I am an old man and my wife is bar­ren.” Because of his doubt, Zechari­ah was made mute until the words spo­ken by the angel were ful­filled.

Words are pow­er­ful and that is the rea­son Zechariah’s mouth was sealed. Instead of telling his fam­i­ly and friends about the glo­ri­ous mir­a­cle about to take place, Zechari­ah would have been say­ing, “This angel came to me, and said Eliz­a­beth would bear a son, but that is impos­si­ble because we are too old.” If Zechari­ah declared those words of doubt he would have missed the mir­a­cle God want­ed to bestow upon him.

How pow­er­ful are words? God made the world by speak­ing words. Jesus tells us that if we have the faith the size of a mus­tard seed, we can move moun­tains by our words. “You are snared by the utter­ance of your lips (words),” pro­claims Proverbs 6:2. St. Paul writes in Eph­esians, “Let no evil come out of your mouths, but only what is use­ful for build­ing up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.” (New Revised Stan­dard Ver­sion Catholic Edi­tion)

By speak­ing words of doubt or defeat we stop the mir­a­cles that God wants to place in our lives. We also tear down oth­ers by what comes out of our mouths. So next time you want to speak defeat or gos­sip, remem­ber words are pow­er­ful. Stop, and speak words of belief, vic­to­ry and love, and be pre­pared to see mir­a­cles hap­pen in your life.

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