|"The Vision of Zechariah" -- by James Tissot|
FIRST READING: Judges 13: 2 - 7, 24 - 25
2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Mano'ah; and his wife was barren and had no children.
3 And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Behold, you are barren and have no children; but you shall conceive and bear a son.
4 Therefore beware, and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean,
5 for lo, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from birth; and he shall begin to deliver Israel
from the hand of the Philistines."
6 Then the woman came and told her husband, "A man of God came to me, and his countenance was like the countenance of the angel of God, very terrible; I did not
ask him whence he was, and he did not tell me his name;
7 but he said to me, `Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son; so then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God
from birth to the day of his death.'"
24 And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson; and the boy grew, and the LORD blessed him.
25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Ma'haneh-dan, between Zorah and Esh'ta-ol.
PSALM: Psalms 71: 3 - 6, 16 - 17
3 Be thou to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for thou art my rock and my fortress.
4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
5 For thou, O Lord, art my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
6 Upon thee I have leaned from my birth; thou art he who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of thee.
16 With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come, I will praise thy righteousness, thine alone.
17 O God, from my youth thou hast taught me, and I still proclaim thy wondrous deeds.
GOSPEL: Luke 1: 5 - 25
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechari'ah, of the division of Abi'jah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,
9 according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And Zechari'ah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechari'ah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth;
15 for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God,
17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Eli'jah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make
ready for the Lord a people prepared."
18 And Zechari'ah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
19 And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their
21 And the people were waiting for Zechari'ah, and they wondered at his delay in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them and remained dumb.
23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying,
25 "Thus the Lord has done to me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men."