Luke is deliberately portraying Zechariah as a representation of the Israelite nation. Like Zechariah, Israel languished in silence in the past few centuries before John, because no prophet had ever been heard among them again. It meant that they had become unable to hear God’s voice because of their hardness of heart. It is now this child who will enable them to hear God’s voice all over again. Sometimes it takes a while before we get to realize the true significance of the things that are happening in our lives. Sometimes, after grieving what we may have thought was a loss or a tragedy, we look back and get to see the hand of God in it. And then we realize it was actually a “blessing in disguise”. It was Isaiah who led Israel to this realization, that God had allowed them to be dispersed all over the world because he intended to make of them “a light to the Gentiles” so that his salvation “may reach the ends of the earth.” (Isa 49:6) This is also our story as Filipinos, especially of our OFWs, who have been scattered like dust all over the world. Pope Fran-cis now refers to them as the “smugglers of the faith”. Now many of them realize that their dispersal has been for a purpose that may not have been obvious at the start. It was not a tragedy but a blessing, one that would realize their prophetic mission, like that of John the Baptist: to let God be heard again through them by a world that is longing to be renewed and recreated by God’s transformative voice.