The angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.
Luke 1: 11
Today’s Gospel recounts the visit of the angel Gabriel to the priest Zechariah, announcing the birth of John the Baptist.
To say the least, Zechariah is surprised – so much that he loses his power of speech. Of course, one might also say that he lost his speech because he didn’t accept the words of the angel.
The angel’s first words are words of comfort, words that we hear throughout the Gospels: “Fear not.”
Though few of us may encounter the heavenly angelic spirits, I believe that we often are sent angels – Greek for messengers – who announce Good News to us, news that will often shake up our lives.
But we so often fear any news that will shake up our lives and ask us to change. We often fear the stranger who may be God’s messenger in disguise.
Fear often binds us.
But the message of the angels in our lives is “Do no fear!” God wants to do great things with us – even such simple great things as having a child.
Do not be afraid.
Let yourself be surprised by angels. And, as it is written in Hebrews 13:2:
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for, by doing so, some have entertained angels unawares.”