It is 19th December 2019. The readings are from Judges 13:2-7, 24-25; and the Gospel from Luke 1:5-25. Love and faith heal the wounds and pain of barrenness and infertility. We live in a world in which having more children is financially burdensome and unmanageable with the growing stress of daily life. But to remain without children is not a good thing either. People without children after their sacramental marriage are depressed at times to think that God forgot their petitions. There is an undeniable personal pain, suffering coupled with shame and shock in the infertile couples. Wider consequences on socio, cultural, emotional and psychological things on barrenness and infertility cannot be undermined. Scripturally, it is recorded that to have a child is a favour from God and it is a blessing. Again, the Scripture provides hope to those who believe and put trust in the Lord. “No one shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfil the number of your days” (Exodus 23:26). God never forgets God’s covenant and promises made during the sacramental marriage. God listens to the prayers of the couple and answers favourably to the petitions of the couples. We have readings today with two episodes of barren couples who look up to God and get the promised blessings. “I did forsake you for a brief moment, but with great love will I take you back. In excess of anger, for a moment I hid my face from you. But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you, says the Lord, your redeemer.” (Is. 54: 7,8). In the first reading, we have the story of Manoah’s wife who was barren. In the gospel, Zechariah’s wife was also barren. They were assured by God through divine intervention that they would conceive a child and eventually they were filled with gratitude and joy. Desire to have children within the marriage is in itself a blessing from God. The responsorial Psalm praises, “My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory.” (Ps.71:8). In the Gospel, we read about the annunciation to Zechariah that God has heard his prayers about having a child through Elizabeth his wife. Doubting in God’s promises can lead to delay and disciplines from God as it happened to Zechariah. Elizabeth exclaimed, “The Lord has done this for me now that it has pleased him to take away the humiliation and disgrace, I suffered before others.” (Lk.1:25). May the Lord kindly look upon the married couples who have no children. May we say a prayer with them today so that they may be all blessed with children. Have a good day and God bless you all.

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