Nasterea Sfantului Ioan Botezatorul
The Birth of St. John the Baptist
Pentru ca multi au incercat sa alcatuiasca o istorisire a faptelor ce s'au adeverit printre noi, asa cum ni le-au predat cei care dintru'nceput le-au vazut si au fost slujitori ai Cuvantului, tot astfel si eu, dupa ce pe toate le-am urmarit de la'nceput cu de-amanuntul, m'am gandit ca e bine sa ti le scriu pe rand, Preaputernice Teofile, pentru ca tu sa cunosti temeinicia invataturilor pe care le-ai primit.
Fost-a in zilele lui Irod, regele Iudeii, un preot cu numele Zaharia, din ceata preoteasca a lui Abia; iar femeia lui era din fiicele lui Aaron si numele ei era Elisabeta. Si amandoi erau drepti inaintea lui Dumnezeu, umbland fara prihana in toate poruncile si randuielile Domnului. Si nu aveau copii, deoarece Elisabeta era stearpa si amandoi erau inaintati in zilele lor.
Si a fost ca pe cand Zaharia slujea inaintea lui Dumnezeu in randul cetei sale, dupa randuiala preotiei i-au iesit sortii sa intre in templul Domnului si sa tamaieze. Iar la ceasul tamaierii toata multimea poporului era afara, rugandu-se.
Si ingerul Domnului i s'a aratat stand de-a dreapta altarului tamaierii. Si, vazandu-l, Zaharia s'a tulburat si frica a cazut peste el.Iar ingerul i-a grait: „Nu te teme, Zaharia, fiindca rugaciunea ti-a fost ascultata si Elisabeta, femeia ta, iti va naste un fiu si-i vei pune numele Ioan. Si-ti va fi el bucurie si veselie, si multi se vor bucura de nasterea lui. Ca mare va fi el inaintea Domnului; nici vin si nici bautura tare nu va bea, si inca din pantecele mamei sale se va umple de Duh Sfant; si pe multi din fiii lui Israel ii va intoarce la Domnul, Dumnezeul lor; si Lui Ii va merge el inainte cu duhul si cu puterea lui Ilie, ca sa intoarca inimile parintilor spre copii si pe cei neascultatori la intelepciunea dreptilor, ca sa-i gateasca Domnului popor pregatit“.
Si a zis Zaharia catre inger: „Dupa ce voi cunoaste aceasta? Ca eu sunt batran, iar femeia mea, inaintata in zilele ei“. Si raspunzand ingerul, i-a zis: „Eu sunt Gavriil, cel ce sta in fata lui Dumnezeu. Si sunt trimis sa graiesc catre tine si sa-ti binevestesc acestea. Si pentru ca n'ai crezut in cuvintele mele, care se vor plini la vremea lor, iata vei fi mut si nu vei putea vorbi pana'n ziua cand vor fi acestea“.
Si poporul il astepta pe Zaharia si se mira ca intarzie in templu. Si cand a iesit, nu putea sa vorbeasca. Si ei au inteles ca vedenie a vazut in templu; si el le facea semne si a ramas mut. Si cand s'au implinit zilele slujirii lui, s'a dus la casa sa. Iar dupa aceste zile, Elisabeta, femeia lui, a zamislit; si vreme de cinci luni s'a tainuit, zicandu-si: „Ca asa mi-a facut mie Domnul in zilele in care a socotit sa-mi ridice ocara de printre oameni“.
Iar Elisabetei i s'a implinit vremea sa nasca si a nascut un fiu. Si au auzit vecinii si rudele ei ca Domnul Si-a marit mila fata de ea; si cu ea se bucurau impreuna. Si a fost ca in ziua a opta au venit sa-l taie'mprejur pe prunc; si voiau sa-l numeasca Zaharia, cu numele tatalui sau. Si raspunzand, mama sa a zis: „Nu!; ci Ioan se va chema“. Si au zis catre ea: „In rudenia ta nu e nimeni care sa se cheme cu numele acesta...“. Si i-au facut semn tatalui sau, cum ar vrea el sa fie numit. Si cerand o tablita, el a scris: „Numele lui este Ioan“. Si toti s'au mirat. Si indata gura si limba i s'au deschis; si vorbea, binecuvantand pe Dumnezeu. Si frica i-a cuprins pe toti vecinii lor; si despre lucrurile acestea s'a vorbit in tot tinutul muntos al Iudeii. Si toti cei ce le-au auzit le puneau in inima lor, zicand: „Ce va fi oare copilul acesta?“... Ca si mana Domnului era cu el.
Si Zaharia, tatal sau, s'a umplut de Duh Sfant si a profetit, zicand: „Binecuvantat este Domnul, Dumnezeul lui Israel, ca Si-a cercetat poporul si l-a rascumparat; iar tu, pruncule, profet al Celui-Preainalt te vei chema, ca vei merge inaintea fetei Domnului ca sa-I gatesti caile, sa-i dai poporului Sau cunostinta mantuirii intru iertarea pacatelor lor, prin milostivirea milei Dumnezeului nostru, cu care Rasaritul-cel-de-Sus ne-a cercetat. Ca sa-i lumineze pe cei ce sed in intuneric si in umbra mortii si sa indrepte picioarele noastre pe calea pacii“.
Iar copilul crestea si se intarea cu duhul. Si a fost in pustie pana in ziua aratarii lui catre Israel. (Luca 1, 1-25; 57-68; 76-80)
The Daily Gospel
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbors were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. (Luke 1:1-25, 57-68, 76-80)