Third Saturday of Advent: Zechariah

Third Saturday of Advent: Zechariah
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Luke 1:13

“But the angel said to him: 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.”

On the third Saturday of Advent, we remember Zechariah. The ornament for today could be a censer or a Jewish priest. Zechariah and Elizabeth were a righteous and devout couple who lived in Judea during the time of King Herod. Despite their piety, they were unable to have children, which brought them great sorrow.

One day, while Zechariah was serving as a priest in the temple, he was chosen by lot to enter the Holy of Holies, the innermost part of the temple, to burn incense before the Lord. This was a rare and significant honor.

Inside the Holy of Holies, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. Zechariah was filled with fear at the sight.

Gabriel assured Zechariah that his prayers had been heard, and he and Elizabeth would have a son named John. This child would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth and would prepare the way for the Lord, turning many hearts to God.

Zechariah expressed doubt, asking how he could be sure of this since he and Elizabeth were both old. As a consequence of his disbelief, Gabriel struck Zechariah mute, and he would remain unable to speak until the child's birth.

When Zechariah came out of the temple, the people waiting outside realized something extraordinary had happened because he couldn't speak to them. He used gestures to convey his experience.

Elizabeth did become pregnant, just as Gabriel had foretold, and she praised God for His mercy in taking away her disgrace among the people.

When John was born, Zechariah's speech was restored, and he praised God in a prophetic song known as the "Benedictus," acknowledging the fulfillment of God's promise and the role his son would play in preparing the way for the Messiah.

From the story of Zechariah, we can learn the importance of trusting in God's promises, approaching divine revelations with humility, recognizing that God uses ordinary people for extraordinary purposes, and preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ.

The story of Zechariah can be found in the New Testament of the Bible, specifically in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1. Here are the Bible verses that tell the story:

Luke 1:5-25 - The introduction of Zechariah and Elizabeth and the announcement of John the Baptist's birth.
Luke 1:26-38 - The angel Gabriel's visit to Mary and the announcement of the birth of Jesus.
Luke 1:39-45 - Mary's visit to Elizabeth and their mutual recognition of the miraculous pregnancies.
Luke 1:57-80 - The birth of John the Baptist, Zechariah's prophecy (Benedictus), and the restoration of Zechariah's speech.

These passages provide a detailed account of Zechariah and Elizabeth's story, including the angelic visitations, the birth of John the Baptist, and the events surrounding it.