ELIZABETH CONCEIVES THE ONE TO PAVE THE WAY FOR JESUS
When the Archangel Gabriel asked Mary for her consent to become the mother of God, he also told how Elizabeth, her cousin in her eighties and barren, conceived and was in her sixth month with a child to be called John. Mary, filled with joy, set out to care for Elizabeth, who lives in the hill country of Judah with her husband Zachariah, a priest. We learn that Zachariah, at the temple when the Archangel Gabriel gives him the good news, is overcome with fear and refuses to believe it. When he rejoins his friends outside the Temple, he has lost his speech, and is only making signs.
Mary Arrives To Be With Elizabeth…
…and Elizabeth greets her with great joy, the child within her seeming to understand the significance of the moment. To Mary she says, “Of all the women you are most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb…Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” -Luke 1: 43-45
Mary humbly replies “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” Elizabeth’s words of greeting and Mary’s response become two of the most familiar Catholic prayers, the Hail Mary and The Magnificat.
A son is born to Elizabeth and Zachariah and on the day of his circumcision they were about to call him Zachariah after his father when Elizabeth intercedes “No, he is to be called John.”…Zachariah asks for a tablet and writes. “His name is John… and all were astonished.” At that instance, his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All who heard of this wondered “What will this child turn out to be?”
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Zachariah speaks a prophesy of his Son “Little child you shall be called Prophet Most High for you will go before the Lord to prepare a way for Him; to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins because of the faithful love of our God…” Luke 1: 57-79
John becomes known as John the Baptist. As the prophesy foretells, he travels through the Jordan area proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, gathering many who become the first followers of Jesus.