On the passage from, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah," up to the point where it is said of John, "He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah."
WHEN ZECHARIAH SAW the angel, he was terrified. If the human gaze beholds a strange form, the mind is agitated and the soul is unsettled. The angel understands that human nature reacts in this way, so he first settles Zechariah's agitation and says, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah."1. He revives the trembling man and gladdens him by announcing his news.2. He says, "Your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son. You shall name him John. He will bring you joy and elation."3. When a just man is born into the world and enters the course of this life, those responsible for his birth rejoice, and their hearts soar upward. But, when someone who is destined for an evil life is born, one who is virtually banished to a prison as a punishment, the one responsible for his birth is thrown into confusion and loses heart.
2. Do you want an example of a holy man, all of whose deeds are praiseworthy? Consider Jacob. He fathered twelve male offspring. All of them became patriarchs, princes of God's people and of Jacob's heritage.4. Jacob, their father, rejoiced in all of them. The Gospel proclaims joy for all people because of John's birth. Once a man engages in the task of begetting____________________