|SAINT ZACHARY FATHER OF JOHN THE BAPTIST|
|Feast: November 5
Zachary, whose feast is celebrated on the same day as that of St. Elizabeth, his
wife, was of the tribe of Abia, and a member of the priestly class. It was
customary for the priests whose week it was to serve in the temple to cast lots
each day for the performance of the various rituals. One day, during Zachary's
period of service, the privilege of offering incense on the altar in the holy
place fell to him, and while he was alone before the altar performing this rite,
the Angel Gabriel appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar. Zachary
was troubled and afraid. Then Gabriel spoke, saying that the prayers of the
priest and his wife would be answered; a son was to be born to them, and his
name was to be John. Zachary found this hard to believe, for both he and
Elizabeth were advanced in years. Overcoming his fear, he asked the angel for
some sign. Because he doubted, the angel announced that Zachary would be
stricken dumb and would regain the power of speech only when the prophecy was
fulfilled. Then the angel disappeared and Zachary came forth from the temple.
The people saw that he was unable to speak and they knew then that he had
received a vision from the Lord.
Elizabeth conceived and gave birth to the one who was to be the Precursor of the Lord. After eight days, when the child was about to be circumcised, Elizabeth told the people that he was to be named John; and Zachary, still unable to speak, asked for a tablet, and on it he wrote the words, "John is his name." At this moment Zachary's tongue was loosed, and he began to praise the Lord. The New Testament tells us nothing further concerning St. Zachary. In Hebrew his name means "Jehovah hath remembered."
Saint Zachary, Father of John the Baptist. Scriptural Saint. Celebration of Feast Day is November 5.
Taken from "Lives of Saints", Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.
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