Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
In today’s readings, we see that both Manoah’s wife and Zechariah received the same message. Both had similar problems tormenting their lives – barrenness. Both were to receive a child who would be Nazirite. And these children were to save the Isratelites from enemies. Where things turn around is how they reacted to it. Manoah’s wife believed it, Zechariah doubted it.
Zechariah was a priest – a man who served at the altar, possibly a man who learned about faith. Manoah’s wife, a woman of simple faith, built upon what she heard and experienced. I am not here to argue which is better. But, indeed there is difference. One could learn about a faith, but it may not affect them. The pharisees, scribes learned about their faith, yet failed to see the object of their faith, when it presented itself before them. There are many who study Christianity and Christ and yet are not affected by the person of Christ, the Saviour. Saul or Paul was also a man of learned faith. He sought after the true faith… and he recognized Jesus when he heard His voice.
People of simple faith, like Manoah’s wife and Mary, accepted the Word of God because they listened with their heart than their head. God’s voice is not heard in the distractions of the world, but in the silence of the heart. We have read Elijah didn’t hear God in the thunder or storm, great manifestations of God, but in the gentle breeze. God is the Voice Within. He is heard better in the heart, than the philosophical and theological jargons of the ‘head’. When Jesus tells us on and on, the kingdom of God belongs to people who are like little children, He means to say exactly this… people who listens with heart and not with head, and complicates faith. Like St. Augustine and later St. Anselm put it, Let us believe in order to understand, because we can never fully understand and then believe.