|"The Vision of Zacharias" -- by James Tissot|
FIRST READING: Judges 13: 2 - 7, 24 - 25
2 Now there was a certain man of Saraa, and of the race of Dan, whose name was Manue, and his wife was barren.
3 And an angel of the Lord appeared to her, and said: Thou art barren and without children: but thou shalt conceive and bear a son.
4 Now therefore beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing.
5 Because thou shalt conceive and bear a son, and no razor shall touch his head: for he shall be a Nazarite of God, from his infancy, and from his mother's womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
6 And when she was come to her husband she said to him: A man of God came to me, having the countenance of an angel, very awful. And when I asked him who he was, and whence he came, and by what name he was called, he would not tell me.
7 But he answered thus: Behold thou shalt conceive and bear a son: beware thou drink no wine, nor strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite of God from his infancy, from his mother's womb until the day of his death.
24 And she bore a son, and called his name Samson. And the child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
25 And the spirit of the Lord began to be with him in the camp of Dan, between Saraa and Esthaol.
3 Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of strength: that thou mayst make me safe. For thou art my firmament and my refuge.
4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner, and out of the hand of the transgressor of the law and of the unjust.
5 For thou art my patience, O Lord: my hope, O Lord, from my youth;
6 By thee have I been confirmed from the womb: from my mother's womb thou art my protector. Of thee shall I continually sing:
16 I will enter into the powers of the Lord: O Lord, I will be mindful of thy justice alone.
17 Thou hast taught me, O God, from my youth: and till now I will declare thy wonderful works.
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth.
6 And they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame.
7 And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.
8 And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God,
9 According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord.
10 And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense.
11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the alter of incense.
12 And Zachary seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John:
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity.
15 For he shall be great before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
16 And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias; that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.
18 And Zachary said to the angel: Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.
19 And the angel answering, said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God: and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings.
20 And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.
21 And the people were waiting for Zachary; and they wondered that he tarried so long in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak to them: and they understood that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he made signs to them, and remained dumb.
23 And it came to pass, after the days of his office were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
24 And after those days, Elizabeth his wife conceived, and hid herself five months, saying:
25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he hath had regard to take away my reproach among men.